Crime
Five doctors accused of selling drugs, causing several deaths in New York
Next Post

Press {{ keys }} + D to make this page bookmarked.

Close
Photo: nytimes.com

Five doctors accused of selling drugs, causing several deaths in New York

641

STATEN ISLAND, New York City - October 12, 2018

The New York Police Department (NYPD) reported on a major case in which the main defendants are five doctors, a pharmacist, and three health workers.

The suspects set up the trade of millions of oxycodone pills which earned them huge amounts of cash. The criminals from Manhattan, Queens, Westchester County, and Staten Island now face from 10 years to life.

Dr. Dante Cubangbang, the first suspect, his assistants' nurse practitioner John Gargan and employee Michael Kellerman and Loren Piquant were charged with criminal conspiracy, illegal trade in illicit drugs, and the organization of fraudulent schemes in the health sector.

According to the police report, they all prescribed more than 6 million oxycodone pills to individuals they knew did not need the medication for any legitimate medical reason.

Officials say they doled out the prescriptions during office visits that lasted no more than a few minutes and involved little to no physical examination. Together with Kellerman and Piquant, who worked in the clinic and recruited patients, they allegedly collected more than $5 million in all-cash office visit fees which they laundered and divided.

Dr. Carl Anderson, 57, with his 53-year-old assistant Arthur Grande from Staten Island also have established drug trafficking. Authorities noted, they were both repeatedly found to be selling drugs on the city's streets.

Dr. Anderson often saw his patients, some of whom displayed visible signs of drug addiction, without appointments and with little notice, in the middle of the night, and required that they pay hundreds of dollars in cash for each prescription.

Neighbors say noisy crowds of pill-seeking patients often gathered outside of his office and in his waiting room, prompting occasional 911 calls. Several deaths from drug overdoses were recorded, but the doctor didn't stop prescribing banned substances to his so-called patients.

Manhattan Dr. Anthony Pietropinto, 80, wrote thousands of medically unnecessary oxycodone prescriptions to drug addicts in exchange for $50 to $100 in cash per visit.

At the same time, the doctor was well aware that his actions violated the law and that the patients didn't have the right to receive the prescribed drugs. Pietropinto, among other things, advised buyers on how to fill out documentation so as not to attract the attention of regulatory authorities.

Dr. Nkanga Nkanga, 65, from Staten Island wrote thousands of oxycodone prescriptions for patients, some of whom displayed visible signs of drug addiction, without conducting any physical examination or even seeing them in an examination room.

Authorities noted the doctor didn't write down the names of the patients on the list to deflect suspicion.

On one occasion, officials say Dr. Nkanga asked a patient, "How many people are you representing today?" and then wrote prescriptions in the names of people who were not present. Dr. Nkanga is accused of regularly prescribing more than 100 oxycodone pills per patient per month until July 2018, when authorities say he reduced all patients' monthly allotment, telling one patient he was "very worried" about scrutiny from law enforcement. The doctor received a lot of money for his “kindness.”

64-year-old Dr. Nadem Sayegh, who worked in Bronx and Westchester, wrote prescriptions for anyone who was willing to pay good money. The man also didn't hesitate to work on the barter principle. He wrote thousands of oxycodone prescriptions in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash, expensive dinners, high-end whiskey, cruises, and all-expense-paid trips.

It is known he gave drugs to his relatives, friends and casual acquaintances. Once Sayegh even prescribed oxycodone to a patient who was abroad at the time.

One more doctor-pharmacist Marc Klein from White Plains (NYC) filled thousands of oxycodone prescriptions that he knew were illegitimate, including prescriptions filled by a customer in multiple variations of his name and date of birth, and prescriptions filled in the names of individuals who were never present in the pharmacy.

He also "fronted" controlled substances and made false reports to New York State authorities in exchange for cash payments and a vacation. Officials say Klein admitted, in substance, that he and his employees could be called "licensed drug dealers" because "oxy pays the bills."

Now all of the suspects are awaiting a court decision. Dr. Cubangbang, Gargan, Kellerman, and Piquant are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Dr. Anderson and Grande are also charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Dr. Pietropinto is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and two counts of distribution of controlled substances, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Dr. Nkanga is charged in an indictment with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and four counts of distribution of controlled substances, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Dr. Sayegh is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of distribution of controlled substances, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of health care fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; making false statements, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison; and aggravated identity theft, which carries a two year mandatory minimum prison sentence to be served consecutive to any other term of imprisonment.

Klein is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and 14 counts of distribution of controlled substances, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Author: USA Really