A Manatee County chiropractor forged a colleague’s signature to obtain testosterone from a pharmacy near Miami, leading to his arrest for fraud.
Dr. David S. Zamikoff, 39, was arrested Feb. 22 by Manatee County Sheriff’s Office deputies in his office at Natural Healing Arts Medical Center, 2215 59th St. W.
Court records show someone from Natural Healing Arts faxed a prescription Feb. 8 to Hallandale Pharmacy in Hallandale Beach for testosterone with Zamikoff listed as the patient.
The signature of Dr. Michael G. Yaffe, a Bradenton neurologist, authorized the prescription. According to the affidavit, the signature appeared to be from a “premade signature stamp.”
Yaffe told detectives he did not sign the prescription form.
“I have not given permission to anyone in the office of Natural Healing Arts to perscribe (sic) and or write perscriptions (sic) attributed to me without my knowledge,” Yaffe said in an written affidavit.
Yaffe, who was an associate of Zamikoff’s at Natural Healing Arts, told investigators that he has never used a signature stamp while practicing in Florida.
Zamikoff has pleaded not guilty in Manatee County Circuit Court to a charge of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud. He was released on $1,000 bond after his arrest.
The charge is a third-degree felony, which carries the maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
Zamikoff did not return a message left for him Wednesday at his office. His practice is still open.
Zamikoff’s attorney, Derek Byrd, said Zamikoff had previously been prescribed testosterone as an anti-aging treatment and could have obtained the medication legally.
“If he did what they’re saying he did, I would characterize it as a shortcut,” Byrd said.
It is considered unethical for a physician to self-prescribe a controlled substance. Testosterone and other anabolic steroids were classified controlled substances by Congress in 1990.
According to Florida Department of Health records, Zamikoff has been licensed in Florida since 2000. At the time of his arrest, the department’s Web site listed his license as set to expire Wednesday. But this week, the site says Zamikoff’s license now expires March 31, 2012.
Before the arrest, detectives executed a search warrant at Zamikoff’s office. According to the probable cause affidavit, they found a stamp matching Yaffe’s signature on the prescription, as well as a credit card with the number listed on the prescription document in or on Zamikoff’s desk.
They also found two bottles of testosterone from Hallandale Pharmacy in a cabinet behind Zamikoff’s desk.
Zamikoff told detectives that Yaffe and another physician, Dr. Gustavo Arrojo, had prescribed testosterone for him in the past. Yaffe denied ever seeing Zamikoff as a patient or prescribing any medications for him, and Arrojo said he had prescribed testosterone for Zamikoff once in 2008, but not since.