Louis Hampers: Indicted Children's doctor back in court on Friday, back in Colorado soon

Dr. Louis Hampers, the Children's Hospital ER doctor charged with writing 654 fake prescriptions dating back to 2007 and continuing through April, will return to court Friday in Virginia, where he was arrested yesterday.

According to Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Hampers will face a detention and removal hearing there that will likely send him back to Colorado.

When he does return, he will be served with additional local warrants, including two out of Denver for harassment and witness intimidation, says Denver Police Department spokesman Sonny Jackson.

One of the women, 9News investigative reporter Deborah Sherman, is suing Hampers for emotional distress and defamation, among other charges. Her attorney, Tom Overton, says he doesn't think the federal criminal charges will affect the civil lawsuit.

The attorney who represented Hampers at his restraining order hearing with Sherman, Harvey Steinberg, did not return a phone call. Hampers lost at that hearing.

In the wake of his arrest, Children's Hospital released a statement attributed to Dr. Joan Bothner, chief medical officer. Contacted by Westword back in June, Bothner refused to discuss the reasons that Hampers had been on a medical leave from the hospital since April 7. Here's the statement:

At The Children's Hospital, our number one priority is, and always will be, patient and family safety. We take these allegations involving one of our medical staff very seriously. We are saddened by the circumstances surrounding this physician. If it becomes apparent as details become more available that we can learn from this situation moving forward, we absolutely are committed to doing so.

Dr. Hampers has not provided care in our emergency department since March 2010, and no longer has active medical staff privileges at Children's.

We are conducting a detailed review, and at this time have found no evidence that clinical care was compromised during his tenure. In addition, an internal review has confirmed that our systems and procedures to prevent drug diversion were effective, as there is no evidence that drugs were taken or used from the hospital. We are providing our full support to the U.S. Attorney's Office in this investigation.

Last month, Hampers voluntarily gave up his medical license pending two investigations by the Colorado Medical Board. But as of today, he still has a job. The University of Colorado School of Medicine, where Hampers earns $206,000 a year as a faculty member who practiced at Children's in addition to teaching classes, also released a statement:

These are allegations of serious criminal conduct that cause us substantial concern. The University of Colorado School of Medicine expects its faculty and staff to exhibit the highest standards of professionalism and compliance with all laws, regulations, and professional standards. We will fully cooperate with the US Attorney's Office as the investigation proceeds. Our priority is to continue to deliver on our promise of quality care and patient safety.

The drug-related charges against Hampers allege that he wrote 654 phony prescriptions for drugs such as generic Vicodin, generic Valium, generic Ambien and generic Ritalin, according to an indictment that lays out the charges against him.

To do so, Hampers allegedly used five patient aliases: Mark Hampton, Marc O'Hara, Carl O'Hanlon, Lou Gray and Louis Gray. Hampers created a fake ID with his photo for each alias, Dorschner says. He wrote prescriptions as Dr. Louis Hampers for the five fake patients and dropped them off at pharmacies in Denver, Aurora, Englewood, Littleton, Wheat Ridge and Colorado Springs.

According to Dorschner, Hampers picked up the prescriptions using the fake IDs. He also used the identities of three actual people -- identified in the indictment by the initials A.B., K.B. and and J.L. -- to obtain the drugs.

If convicted, Hampers could face up to four years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each of his 655 charges, 654 of which are for "obtaining controlled substances by fraud and deceit." The other is for "conspiracy to obtain controlled substances by fraud and deceit."

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar