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Ridgewood doctor sold illegal prescriptions: DA

A Ridgewood doctor whose license was revoked nearly six years ago has been arrested on suspicion of selling prescriptions for drugs like Vicodin, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Friday.

Chaggrit Sawangkao, 69, allegedly sold the prescriptions for between $50 and $100 apiece, Brown said.

He was arraigned last Thursday on a 23-count complaint, including criminal possession of a prescription, criminal diversion of prescription medications, unauthorized practice of medicine, falsifying business records and scheming to defraud, the DA said.

Sawangkao was ordered held without bail based on a fugitive from justice warrant issued by the state of Pennsylvania, which is charging him with the crime of criminal conspiracy to obtain controlled substances through misrepresentation or fraud, the DA's office said.

If convicted, Sawangkao faces up to seven years in prison, the DA said.

The former doctor twice used one of his old pads, on May 29 and July 23, to write 10 prescriptions for generic Vicodin, which he sold to undercover investigators from the state Department of Health and DA's office, Brown said.

Investigators also found that approximately 80 prescriptions written by Sawangkao were filled at more than 10 different pharmacies in New York and Pennsylvania for around 12,000 narcotic pills, Brown said.

Sawangkao had his license revoked in January 2003 for defrauding patients, insurance companies and the government, Brown said.

Sawangkao lost his license over an incident in May 1997 when he treated the sores on the feet of a 93-year-old woman, court papers show. As payment, he asked the patient for two blank, signed personal checks, telling her that he did not know the amounts owed for lab tests at that time, court papers show.

Sawangkao made the first check payable to himself for $950 and cashed it at a restaurant, and made the second payable to a travel agency in the amount of $4,500, court papers show.

He lost an appeal on the revocation decision in 2004.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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