The Glendora doctor accused of over-prescribing patients and allegedly pocketing large prescription payments has pleaded not guilty at an arraignment hearing Friday morning.
The lawyer for Rolando Lodevico Atiga, Gary Laff, asked the judge to allow him to be released on his own recognizance, claiming that he is not a danger to himself, or the community. The judge however, ordered Atiga be remanded to the custody of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Atiga was led away in handcuffs. His bail, was set at $75,000.
The judge requested that if Atiga posted bail, he must surrender his passport. Atiga's attorney claimed Atiga had surrendered his passport a few years ago to the federal government.
Atiga's attorney claims his client is sick and suffers from Frontal Lobe Dementia. In documents obtained from the Medical Board of California, a physician in April of 2012 claimed Atiga "demonstrated occasional signs of intellectual limitation" and might be displaying dementia.
Rolando Atiga was arrested by police July 12 and accused of committing several felonies, including illegally prescribing patients addictive drugs without medical justification for $200 to $400 in cash. Atiga allegedly pocketed this money. Atiga also requested patients tip his receptionist a reported $50, authorities said.
A series of tips from patients led to the investigation by Glendora Police, which involved undercover officers, posing as patients. One officer used an X-ray of her pet dog to justify a powerful prescription, Atiga examined the x-ray and wrote the officer's prescription, Police said.
The Medical Board of California issued an interim suspension of Atiga's medical license at the end of August.
The full suspension was issued by an Administrative Law Judge after Atiga failed to appear at a full notice hearing Aug. 31. Atiga was ordered to "immediately cease practicing medicine pending further hearing."
Atiga reportedly had his medical license revoked multiple times in the past and was disciplined in those instances, according to authorities.
In May 1996, Atiga's license was suspended for 60 days after being convicted of excessively prescribing drugs and creating false billing statements.
In December 2008, Atiga was convicted of one count of illegal remunerations for soliciting $10,000 from a health professional in exchange for referring 10 Medicare beneficiaries for home health services, according to documents provided by the Medical Board of California. Atiga's license was revoked in Oct. 2010, but the revocation was stayed upon agreement of certain terms and conditions.
In April of this year, Atiga's probation was revoked for failing to adhere to the terms of his probation after failing to submit to a medical examination and enroll in an ethics course. Atiga cited religious reasons for not being able to attend the weekend classes, according to the documents.
He was also charged with gross negligence, repeated negligence, excessive prescribing and unprofessional conduct related to preparation of false billing statements. Atiga's license was again revoked, but was placed on a seven-year probation.
Atiga is set to appear at a preliminary hearing Oct. 25.