Doctors allegedly sold millions of pills to patients with ‘visible signs of drug addiction’

October 11, 2018 - 1:57 pm

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- Five doctors are among a group of people accused of illegally distributing millions of oxycodone pills.

The suspects include the highest prescriber of oxycodone in New York State.

“These doctors and other health professionals should have been the first line of defense against opioid abuse, but as alleged in today’s charges, instead of caring for their patients, they were drug dealers in white coats.  They hid behind their medical licenses to sell addictive, dangerous narcotics.  This Office will do everything in its power to bring to justice anyone responsible for fueling the opioid epidemic that has taken so many lives.” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.

Dr. Dante Cubangbang and John Gargan, a nurse practitioner, are accused of prescribing over 6 million pills to people who didn't need them. Two other defendants, Michael Kellerman and Loren Piquant, are accused of recruiting patients for Cubangang's Queens clinic and helping to launder money.

Staten Island physician Carl Anderson allegedly peddled a million pills to patients who didn't need them. In particular he is accused of selling pills to Arthur Grande who made the drugs available for sale on the street. Authorities say some of Anderson's customers showed 'visible signs of drug addiction.'

In Manhattan, psychiatrist Anthony Pietropinto allegedly charged drug addicted patients $50 to $100 per visit in exchange for 'thousands of medically unnecessary' oxycodone prescriptions.

Authorities say Nadem Sayegh accepted thousands of dollars in cash, expensive dinners, high-end whiskey, cruises, and all-expense-paid trips in exchange for bogus pain killer prescriptions.

DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James Hunt said the fight would continue amidst the worst drug crisis in America.

"The worst villains in the fight against drug abuse are doctors whose criminal actions fuel addiction and overdoses.  As a result of separate investigations from three DEA offices, five doctors, a pharmacist, a nurse practitioner and three associates have been arrested for their role in distributing millions of unnecessary oxycodone pills," he said.

Those suspects, and others named in indictments and criminal complaints face up to 20 years on some charges, with most suspects facing multiple counts.