After almost ten years of medical practice, a doctor and his former nurse out of Arvada, CO are facing two felony charges for medial marijuana recommendation fraud. Both, Dr. Lenny Sujdak and now retired nurse, Debra Gady, reportedly admitted to the accusations when each appeared separately in court on Monday to learn about the charges.
Over the course of one year, from the spring of 2011 to spring 2012, Dr. Sujdak was the certifying physician on over 7,000 medical marijuana recommendations to patients. If he worked all 365 days that year, he would have had to have examined an average of 19 patients per day in order to issue that many recommendations. That was not the case.
Often, his nurse at the the time, Debra Gady, would issue the recommendations for him without Dr. Sujdak every having seen the patient. He would purposefully leave her with pre-signed forms, so that she could issue them to patients. Under Colorado law, in order to be issued a medical marijuana recommendation, a bona-fide physician and patient relationship is required. This means that the patient must be examined by only the issuing physician, and only the physician can determine whether the patient would benefit from the use of medical marijuana.
The investigation began when an undercover officer with the North Metro Drug Task Force was able to purchase a pre-signed medical marijuana recommendation signed by Dr. Sudjak at the Hempcon held at the Denver Mart in October 2011. The officer purchased the physician recommendation from Debra Gady for just $100. In this case, he did not even have to step foot into Dr. Sujdak’s office.
Currently, Dr. Sujdak is still practicing at his Arvada office, but his license is restricted. He is no longer permitted to issue medical marijuana recommendations. He is required to attend an ethics training class, as well. Only time will tell whether or not they will serve time in prison for this fraudulent activity.
photo credit: CBS Denver