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Utah doctor fined for lying about criminal case

By Jennifer Dobner

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Sept. 3 2011 11:44 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah doctor whose license was suspended in Maryland following a botched abortion has been fined for lying about her criminal background in 2004, state regulators said.

In a statement released Wednesday, the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing Director Mark Steinagel said Nicola Irene Riley, 46, has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine.

Steinagel said Riley has acknowledged she filed an inaccurate application that downplayed her role in an unrelated 1990 credit card fraud scheme in Colorado Springs, Colo. Riley was seeking both a license to practice medicine and distribute controlled substances in Utah.

According to a copy of the DOPL agreement, in her 2004 application, Riley said that while in the military in 1991, she pleaded no contest to knowing about but failing to report a credit card scheme carried out by two soldiers under her supervision. She said she was dishonorably discharged from the military and served one year in prison at Leavenworth, Kan.

DOPL investigators, however, obtained military records that showed Riley had a direct involvement with the credit card scheme and had conspired with the others, filling out credit applications at stores to get items from stores, the agreement states.

The fine is due within 18 months of an agreement signed Monday by Riley and DOPL officials. Utah has known about the misrepresentation since October, Steinagel said.

Riley's attorney, Erik Strindberg, did not immediately return a message Thursday.

The agreement also requires Riley to provide DOPL and the Physicians Licensing Board with an essay about the impact of her unprofessional conduct on patients and her profession.

The arrangement does not prohibit Riley from practicing medicine and Steinagel said DOPL's rules don't call for an automatic revocation for misrepresentations of information on a licensing application. Those decisions are based on the facts of the individual case.

"In Ms. Riley's case, DOPL decided the best agency action was not a full revocation," his statement reads.

The deal is in addition to an earlier agreement Riley made with the licensing agency not to perform abortion procedures in Utah while she is still under investigation by the state of Maryland.

Maryland officials said Riley was affiliated with a New Jersey physician known for bringing his patients to an outpatient surgical center in Elkton, Md., for late-term abortions.

In August 2010, Riley botched a procedure and her 18-year-old patient had to be rushed to a hospital for emergency surgery on a ruptured uterus and small intestine, said John Papavasilou, deputy director of Maryland's State Board of Physicians.

"She was summarily suspended because she was an imminent threat to patient safety," he said of Riley.

A case resolution conference is set for later this year, Papavasilou said.

Utah officials said they continue to monitor's Maryland's process and will re-evaluate their agreement with Riley if necessary.

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