"I've learned my lesson," said Anna Malova as she left a Manhattan court, wearing a black suit, black stockings and spiked-heel ankle boots. "I look at the world with clear eyes."
Malova, who finished in the top 10 in the 1998 Miss Universe pageant, was accused of stealing prescription pads from doctors, writing herself prescriptions for pain and anti-anxiety drugs, and filling or trying to fill them at pharmacies 14 times, sometimes even after initial arrests in February 2010 and May 2010.
Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Richard Weinberg on Tuesday dropped all those charges, plus a clothing-store shoplifting case. Malova's lawyer said the theft also stemmed from drug addiction.
The city special narcotics prosecutor's office wanted Malova's treatment extended another three months. But the judge decided Malova had met requirements to get the charges dismissed by going through rehabilitation. "You can be very proud of yourself in getting your life back," Weinberg said but warned: "If you find yourself failing, you'll be back before me."
Malova, 42, went into inpatient drug rehabilitation in June 2011, in a process courts call "diversion" to treatment.
She was initially supposed to be in the program for about a year. But she was jailed for about a month in late 2011 after authorities said she caused problems at the rehab center. Then she got into trouble again in March 2012, when prosecutors said she had been hoarding pills to try to get high while in treatment.
Her lawyer, Robert Gottlieb, has said those problems stemmed from Malova's drug dependency.
She eventually was allowed to leave rehab for court-supervised outpatient treatment. In arguing Tuesday that she needed more time in the outpatient program, prosecutors noted that she still takes an anti-anxiety drug and doesn't have a job, normally a requirement for completing a rehab program.
Gottlieb said doctors have prescribed the medication for her, and she is volunteering at a music company. The publicity surrounding her case, she said, has made it difficult to find a paying job.