new york doctor admits oxycodone distribution and conspiracy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 31, 2013
TRENTON, N.J. – A physician who wrote illegal prescriptions for oxycodone today admitted his participation in a conspiracy to illegally distribute the medication, and admitted that he distributed it on numerous occasions, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Dr. Hassan Lahham, 54, of New York, was charged by Indictment with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and eleven counts of distribution of oxycodone. He pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to Count One of the Indictment, which charges that he conspired to distribute oxycodone.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Since January 2009, Lahham issued prescriptions to co-conspirators for drugs containing oxycodone, outside the usual course of medical practice and not for any legitimate medical purpose. The prescriptions were filled at various New Jersey pharmacies located in and around Monmouth, Ocean, and Atlantic counties and redistributed by others. Lahham wrote the prescriptions in exchange for cash payments, and knew the pills were to be redistributed.
Oxycodone, the active ingredient in brand name pills such as Oxycontin, Roxicodone and Percocet, is a Schedule II controlled substance – meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions, and abuse of the drug may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
The charge to which Lahham pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for May 10, 2013.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert G. Koval, along with the Special Agents, Diversion Investigators, Task Force Officers, Detectives and Intelligence Analysts of the Atlantic City Resident Office; Camden Resident Office Diversion Group; Seaside Heights Police Department; Barnegat Police Department; Ship Bottom Police Department; and the N.J. DEA Tactical Diversion Squad, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys R. Joseph Gribko and Fabiana Pierre-Louis of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Trenton.
Defense counsel: Frank P. Arleo Esq., West Orange, N.J.