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Wednesday, June 2, 2004



Kaiser doctor gets
minimum sentence

The ex-bodybuilder had admitted
to using illegal substances


A Kaiser Permanente doctor who admitted to using and ordering drugs over the Internet for personal use has changed his life, his attorney said.

"He's embraced the church, he's understood the role that drugs played in his life that was negative and has rejected recreational drugs as a way to deal with any life problems," said attorney Brook Hart, who represented Dr. Peter Edward Fong.

U.S. District Judge Helen Gillmor granted a request yesterday by federal prosecutors for a minimum term and ordered Fong to five years probation, with six months home detention.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael K. Kawahara said Fong, who already has spent eight days in custody, did not warrant additional confinement because the drugs were for "personal use."

Under federal sentencing guidelines, Fong was looking at six to 12 months in prison.

The government's request enabled Fong to qualify for probation and was based on his cooperation in all aspects of the investigation, Hart said.

Gillmor also ordered Fong to pay a $20,000 fine because unlike other defendants that come before the court, he is able to work.

Fong, 44, was charged in September 2002 with importing quantities of gamma hydroxibutyric acid lactone, or GBL, and butanediol, or BD -- both industrial solvents that when mixed together, produce GHB, better known as the "date rape drug."

GHB, GBL and BD are highly addictive and are sometimes ingested by bodybuilders to stimulate muscle growth.

Fong, a former bodybuilder, pleaded guilty last July to charges of importing controlled substances and being an unlawful user of a controlled substance while in the possession of firearms.

Federal agents found marijuana, cocaine, Ecstasy, anaerobic steroids and other controlled substances in quantities consistent with personal use during a search of his home, Hart said. Fong claimed the drugs were for personal use to help him sleep. The search also uncovered five firearms, one of which was not registered with Honolulu police.

Fong has used drugs recreationally, Hart said, but they had no impact on his professional performance. Fong apologized to the court for his conduct, saying his life back then was different from what it is now.

Before entering his plea, Fong successfully completed a 90-day residential drug treatment program in Oregon and has been clean ever since, Hart said.

Fong continues to be a Kaiser employee in an administrative position, said Allison Russell, spokeswoman for Kaiser Permanente, which conducted an investigation into Fong's performance after the charges were filed.

"He's in a nonpatient area and if the court found probation appropriate as opposed to incarceration, the court has made the determination that that's the appropriate sentence," Russell said.

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