“There were indications of a history of drug abuse and possible suicide,” said John Kades, an investigator with the coroner’s office.
Bass, who prosecutors believe took cash in exchange for writing hundreds of mostly pain killer prescriptions to patients, seven of whom died, pleaded guilty in May in a Ventura County courtroom to conspiracy to write fraudulent prescriptions.
Bass’ attorney at the time said the doctor felt terrible about the deaths — four of which occurred last year — but that he was not to blame.
Although Bass was not charged in connection with the seven deaths, his sentencing was scheduled for July 31 in Ventura County Superior Court.
From his North Hollywood clinic, which Burbank police said drew patients from throughout the county, Bass illegally wrote and backdated hundreds of prescriptions even after surrendering his license.
“The guy was prolific,” said Merich, formerly of the department’s narcotics unit. “He was very careful, though. He only sold to people he knew.”
Because the police presence in Burbank tends to outnumber that of surrounding cities, drug users have a tendency to re-up in neighboring municipalities, he said.
“His name popped up all the time,” Merich said. “When we arrested people in Burbank who had a large quantity of pills on them, at least a few said they got them from Dr. Bass.”
Ryan Wright, senior deputy district attorney, referred to the clinic as a “pill mill,” adding that patients were hardly questioned before being granted prescriptions.
The case against Bass will be dismissed.
Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, said she could not comment about the doctor.