Doctor convicted of murder in overdose deaths
02:09 - Source: kcal

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Hsiu-Ying "Lisa" Tseng was convicted for the deaths of three patients, all in their 20s

Their deaths occurred between March and December 2009

CNN  — 

A California doctor has been convicted of murder in connection with three prescription drug overdose deaths.

Prosecutors said this is the first time in the United States that a doctor has been convicted of murder for over-prescribing drugs.

Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng, 45, was found guilty of 23 counts, including 19 counts of unlawful controlled substance prescription and one count of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.

Tseng was convicted on Friday of second-degree murder for the deaths of Vu Nguyen, 28, of Lake Forest; Steven Ogle, 24, of Palm Desert; and Joseph Rovero, 21, an Arizona State University student from San Ramon. All were in their 20s when they died between March and December 2009.

“This verdict sends a strong message to individuals in the medical community who put patients at risk for their own financial gain,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “In this case, the doctor stole the lives of three young people in her misguided effort to get rich quick.”

Tseng’s attorney, Tracy Green, said the case doesn’t bode well for doctors who prescribe controlled substances.

“While we disagree with the jury’s decision, we appreciate their conscientiousness,” Green said. “I think the jury did the best job they could and ultimately the plan will be to appeal the decision.”

Tseng was arrested three years ago after undercover agents posed as patients with pain problems.

CNN’s Dottie Evans contributed to this report