COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC4) — A consent order entered by U.S. District Judge David Barlow has permanently banned a medical doctor licensed in Utah from issuing prescriptions for controlled substances including opioids.

According to the United States Department of Justice, a complaint that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah alleged that Dr. Sean Ponce “unlawfully issued controlled substance prescriptions in violation of the Controlled Substances Act.”

As stated by his attorney, Ponce did consent “to the entry of the order without admission or finding of fact, law, liability, or wrongdoing and only to avoid the delay, uncertainty, inconvenience, and expense of protracted litigation.”

The complaint reportedly raised allegations that Ponce “catered to customer requests for opioids and other controlled substances, at times using text messages to arrange the exchange of prescriptions for cash.” The U.S. Department of Justice adds that the claims continued, alleging that Ponce met with cash-paying customers in a virtual office space in Cottonwood Heights, so as to keep up front of a medical practice, “despite the routine lack of legitimate examinations, medical findings supporting the prescriptions,” or legitimate doctor-patient relationships.

The U.S. Department of Justice shared the following guidelines of the consent order issued against Dr. Ponce:

  • Requirement to pay a $65,000 civil penalty.
  • Prohibition from administering, dispensing or distributing controlled substances.
  • Prohibition from “managing or supervising other medical providers who work with or prescribe opioids or controlled substances.”
  • Prohibition from owning a medical practice or business where opioids or other controlled substances are handled.

The U.S. Department of Justice notes that “the claims resolved by the resolution are allegations only and there has been no determination of liability.”