A former Oak Park doctor currently residing in Forest Park pleaded guilty Friday to federal charges for trading prescription drugs for sex on the website Craigslist.com in 2009.
Joshua D. Baron, 40, who worked as a pediatric neurologist at three Chicago hospitals before being suspended from his position in 2011, also admitted to giving out 149 prescriptions to 16 individuals in exchange for sex, money or both between 2006 and 2011, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of Illinois.
Baron, who remains free on his own recognizance, faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine of $1 million, but his plea deal provides a sentencing guideline of between nine and 11 years behind bars. Baron is scheduled for sentencing on June 30 by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer.
Baron posted at least 78 Craigslist ads over the five-year period under the sections "men who would play" and "casual encounters."
The prescriptions traded or sold totaled thousands of doses of various medications, including 1,830 Norco, 1,710 Xanax, 1,680 Adderall, 270 Vicodin, 180 of both Percocet and Demerol, 150 Phentermine, 120 Focalin, 90 Dilaudid, 30 Klonopin and 15 morphine sulfate.
Baron, who was licensed in Illinois in May 2006, treated patients at Rush University Medical Center, John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County and St. Anthony's Hospital. His illegal activity, however, was never linked to any of the three institutions.
"These individuals [from Craigslist] were never patients of Baron, they never visited his office as a patient, and he never asked them about medical issues, took their medical history, conducted an examination or attempted to diagnose them," according to the news release.
Baron was arrested on Jan. 13, 2011, when an undercover Wilmette police officer arrested him after responding to one of his Craigslist ads in an undercover sting operation.
The sting took place over the course of a week, at which time Baron exchanged emails offering drugs for sex to the undercover officer, according to police reports.