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doctor sentenced to 57 months in prison for oxycodone distribution conspiracy



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2013


 

Several Co-Defendants Sentenced Last Week

TRENTON, N.J. – A doctor who admitted writing illegal prescriptions for oxycodone was sentenced today to 57 months in prison for participating in a conspiracy to distribute the medication illegally, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Jacqueline Lopresti, 52, of Fair Haven, N.J., previously pleaded guilty before Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to an information charging her with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone.

Lopresti was the second doctor convicted in connection with this large oxycodone distribution conspiracy. Last week, Dr. Hassan Lahham was sentenced to 108 months in prison by Judge Wolfson in connection with his involvement in the same scheme. Also last week, two co-defendants, Christopher Erwin, 49, of Barnegat, N.J., and Stephen Sampson, 52, of Manahawkin, N.J., were sentenced by Wolfson to 188 months and 96 months in prison, respectively, for their roles in the conspiracy. In total, 28 people have been charged and convicted in this oxycodone distribution conspiracy.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Oxycodone is the active ingredient in brand name pills such as Oxycontin, Roxicodone and Percocet. It 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.

In 2009, Lopresti 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 pharmacies located in and around Monmouth, Ocean, and Atlantic counties, N.J., and redistributed by others.

Erwin and Sampson were the leaders of a large-scale oxycodone distribution ring which used doctors, specifically Lopresti and Lahham, to collect prescriptions for oxycodone for which there is no medical necessity. Erwin and Sampson visited these physicians themselves and paid the physicians for medically unnecessary oxycodone prescriptions in their names and in the names of other people. Erwin and Sampson acquired the oxycodone for further distribution.

Erwin and Sampson transported various co-defendants, including: including Christopher Keosseian, 48, of Belmar; Joseph Keosseian, 46, of Belmar; James Baker, 51, of Forked River; Alex Bushman, 47, of Manahawkin; Heather Dockery, 28, of Barnegat; Wendy Galati, 45, of Toms River; Edward Gural, 37, of Barnegat; Donald Johnson, 32, of Barnegat; Bryan Lewicki, 36, of Barnegat; Gregory Mann, 50, of Surf City; Carter Nies, 36, of Barnegat; Jonathan Puggi, 35, of Little Egg Harbor; Henry Shubert, 43, of Waretown; Kyle Skora, 33, of Toms River; Crescenzo Terranova, 51, of Little Egg Harbor; and Robert Walton, III, 55, of Manahawkin; and others in multiple vehicles to various physicians and to the pharmacies afterwards. Erwin and Sampson trusted some of the defendants and paid some of the defendants to recruit and bring customers to the doctors as well as directed some of the defendants when to transport customers to the physicians and the pharmacies and which customers to transport.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wolfson sentenced Lopresti to three years of supervised release, ordered to her to forfeit $465,000, and fined her $5,000.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited U.S. Attorney Fishman credited the Drug Enforcement Administration's New Jersey Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski, 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, N.J. and the N.J. DEA Tactical Diversion Squad, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney R. Joseph Gribko of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Trenton.

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Defense counsel:
Lopresti: Joseph Hayden Esq., Roseland, N.J.
Erwin: James R. Murphy Esq., Princeton, N.J.
Sampson: Richard Sparaco Esq., Cherry Hill, N.J.

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