New York Doctors and Ex-Assemblyman Charged in Illegal Opioid Ring
May 8, 2017
New York, NY(Law Firm Newswire) May 8, 2017 – Thirteen people were arrested and charged in a large-scale prescription drug ring in Brooklyn, New York.
The ring included three doctors, four nurse practitioners and former New York State Assemblyman Alec Brook-Krasny. They pleaded not guilty to multiple charges in the Manhattan Supreme Court.
The suspects allegedly turned three medical clinics into “pill mills” that pumped millions of illegal painkillers onto the black market from 2012 to early this year. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) said the ring prescribed over six million oxycodone pills with an estimated street value of between $60 and $100 million. The defendants face a total of 477 charges including money laundering, health care fraud in the first and second degrees, fourth-degree conspiracy, criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance and other crimes.
“Prescription drug fraud charges can have serious consequences,” said Peter Brill, a New York City criminal defense attorney with Brill Legal Group, who is not involved with the case. “The government’s crackdown on doctors and pharmacists can sometimes lead to overcharging and excessively harsh sentences. In such cases, an aggressive defense is often required to protect the defendant’s rights.”
The group was also accused of defrauding Medicaid and Medicare of about $24 million. Patients were allegedly given painkiller prescriptions in exchange for submitting to thousands of unnecessary medical procedures and tests. The clinics then used shell companies to pay practitioners. Investigators said Brook-Krasny’s alleged role in the scheme was instructing a laboratory he is currently affiliated with to alter drug test results.
Authorities said defendants Dr. Paul McClung of Valley Stream and Dr. Lazar Feygin of Staten Island ran the three clinics. Feygin was the alleged leader of the multimillion-dollar scheme. His two clinics received Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements in excess of $16 million from 2013 to this year. The doctor spent the money on overseas vacations, luxury goods and real estate.
Through wire-tapped phone calls, investigators discovered that the clinics systematically deleted positive drug tests. Opioids were allegedly prescribed to patients who were likely selling or abusing other drugs. Prosecutors said a patient blew the whistle on the scheme in 2013. However, the ring was not busted until four years later due to patient privacy laws.
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