Head Pharmacist of West Orange Pharmacy Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison for Selling Oxycodone without prescriptions
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2014
NEWARK, N.J. – The former pharmacist in charge of West Orange Pharmacy was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for illegally distributing hundreds of tablets of oxycontin in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Leonard “Lenny” Stefanelli, 49, of East Hanover, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty to an information charging him with illegally dispensing oxycodone. Stefanelli also admitted to conspiring with brothers Robert and William Carlucci, both 70, of Florham Park, New Jersey, to submit fraudulent bills to health care benefit providers, including Medicare and Medicaid. U.S. District Judge Faith S. Hochberg imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
Stefanelli also previously agreed forfeit $1.5 million, consisting of illegal profits obtained from his illegal sales of oxycodone and his submission of fraudulent bills to health care benefit providers.
According to documents filed in this and related cases and statements made in court:
Oxycodone, the active ingredient in brand name pills such as Oxycontin, is a Schedule II controlled substance B 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. A pharmacist can only dispense a Schedule II controlled substance when presented with a written prescription from a doctor.
On at least six separate occasions from Feb. 1, 2012, to August 6, 2012, Stefanelli sold hundreds of tablets of Oxycontin, without a prescription, in exchange for cash. Each sale took place inside West Orange Pharmacy. On Feb. 8, 2012, Stefanelli sold one bottle of 100-count Oxycontin 30-mg tablets and one bottle of 100-count Oxycontin 15-mg tablets for $1,800.
Between 1992 and October 2012, Stefanelli conspired with Robert and William Carlucci to submit fraudulent bills to health care benefit providers, including Medicaid and Medicare, reaping at least $921,634 from his scheme. Robert and William Carlucci pleaded guilty on Aug. 6, 2013, to committing health care fraud by participating in a variety of schemes designed to cheat customers and bilk insurance companies out of millions of dollars. On March 13, 2014, the Carluccis were each sentenced to 42 months in prison.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Hochberg sentenced Stefanelli to three years of supervised release, fined him $1 million and permanently barred him from working in the pharmaceutical industry.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl J. Kotowski; and special agents of the Food & Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, under the direction of Mark Dragonetti, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing. He also thanked the Elizabeth, Clinton, Toms River, West Orange and Marlboro police departments, along with the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, for their work on this case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
Defense counsel: Carlos Ortiz Esq., Morristown, New Jersey