A Richfield doctor who had a family practice at Sevier Valley Hospital has pleaded guilty to one count of making a false prescription for his wife, who faces a preliminary hearing on a similar charge next week.

Dr. Robert E. Potts, 56, appeared in 6th Circuit Court Tuesday on nine counts of making or uttering a false prescription. He waived his right to a preliminary hearing and later pleaded guilty in 6th District Court to the single charge.Potts faces a Nov. 23 sentencing date for the crime, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

His wife, Jonnie Potts, was charged with nine counts of acquiring a controlled substance by misrepresentation. She was arraigned in 6th Circuit Court Tuesday and did not have legal counsel, so Judge David Mowers scheduled a preliminary hearing for next Tuesday.

Both defendants were released on their own recognizance.

Prosecutors said Potts would write prescriptions for Demerol in other patients' names, then give the drugs to his wife.

County Attorney Don Brown said Sevier County sheriff's detectives had investigated the case for more than two years.

Sheriff John Meacham said the charges stemmed from a separate investigation two years ago.