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NBC San Diego
POSTED: 7:27 pm PDT April 21, 2008 UPDATED: 7:59 pm PDT April 21, 2008
SAN DIEGO —
There is new information in the case of a well-known lasik eye surgeon accused of prescription fraud and domestic violence.
Dr. Manoj Motwani, 39, was set to be arraigned on Monday. That hearing was delayed at the request of his attorney.
However, prosecutors revealed details surrounding his arrest and his case.
Prosecutor Lucy Weismantel said Dr. James Rice, 71, is also being charged in connection with the case. He is charged with three counts of prescription fraud for allegedly writing a prescription for the anti-depressant Lexapro for Motwani under a false name, Weismantel said.
Rice faces up to four years and six months in prison if convicted, the prosecutor said.
Motwani was arrested April 11 at his La Jolla home on allegations of domestic violence, burglary and prescription fraud, according to the California Highway Patrol.
According to the CHP, Motwani was allegedly involved in a domestic violence incident on Oct. 28, 2007, with his live-in girlfriend, Antonia Quast, while driving north on Interstate 5 near Clairemont Drive.
CHP Officer Brad Baehr said a motorist alerted authorities to the fight, after Motwani allegedly pulled his Mercedes to the side of the freeway. When the motorist tried to intervene, Baehr said Motwani allegedly ran from the scene. Quast, 40, suffered bruises and a bloody nose, according to Baehr.
The alleged prescription fraud came to light during the CHP’s investigation.
Prosecutor Lucy Weismantel said Motwani was allegedly writing prescriptions in the name of fraudulent patient. He faces nine counts of possessing or passing false prescriptions for Lexapro.
If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
The judge ordered Motwani to have no further contact with Quast. He also ordered the surgeon to return to court on Thursday.
Motwani, an opthamologist at Alpha Laser Center of La Jolla, is free on $190,000 bail.