For release on October 17, 2012
James Sibley Supervising Deputy District Attorney
A top administrator of Santa Clara County’s health plan was charged with 18 felonies this week, accused of trading prescriptions for powerful drugs – including Oxycontin - in return for cash and methamphetamines.
Dr. Marvin Bonham, the medical director of the Valley Health Plan, Health and Hospital System of Santa ClaraCounty, allegedly wrote more than half of his prescriptions for county residents who had criminal drughistories; offered to give minors methamphetamines; and gave them marijuana. The case against Bonham is theresult of a multi-agency probe, spearheaded by the Attorney General’s Santa Clara County SpecializedEnforcement Team, entitled “Operation Oxy Exchange.
”The 61-year-old Los Gatos resident is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 18 in Department 63 of the TerraineStreet Court in San Jose. Charges include: possession of methamphetamine for sale, prescribing withoutlegitimate medical purpose, prescribing to addicts, possession of psilocybin mushrooms, possession of ecstasyand possession of marijuana for sale. He is out of custody on $1 million bail. If convicted, Dr. Bonham faces upto 25 years in prison.
Supervising Deputy District Attorney James Sibley said, “Doctors are supposed to care for the health of theirpatients, not to recklessly give them access to powerful, addictive drugs.
”SCCSET agents, following up on a number of unusual drug-related police reports revolving around Dr.Bonham, his vehicle, storage facility, and home, reviewed the state controlled substances database - CURES(Controlled Substance Utilization and Review System.) These reports showed that Dr. Bonham, a pediatricianwhose position at Valley Health Plan was purely administrative, wrote a substantial number of prescriptions formajor drugs of abuse to 29 different adults in less than two years. More than half of these people had criminalhistories, with ten having records of arrests for drug use and sales. A law enforcement search discoveredweapons, sales quantities of methamphetamine, marijuana, and ecstasy, as well as a marijuana grow room in thecrawl space under Bonham’s hillside estate. Substantial quantities of drying marijuana hung in the garage andthe home was littered with burnt foil and hollowed pens that appeared to have been used to smoke drugs.
Also charged with three drug-related felonies was Bonham’s roommate James Schneider, 32.