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Press Release

New York Pharmacist Pleads Guilty to Narcotics and Tax Offenses

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A New York pharmacist pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, distribution and possession of oxycodone and filing false business and personal income tax returns.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Daniel E. Russo owned and operated Russo’s Pharmacy, Inc., a drug store located in Far Rockaway, Queens. From 2011 through 2014, Russo conspired with others to illegally distribute oxycodone, a controlled substance. For the years 2013 through 2016, Russo filed false tax returns with the IRS on behalf of Russo’s Pharmacy that underreported the gross receipts and ordinary business income of the pharmacy. Russo also filed false personal tax returns for the years 2012 through 2016 that underreported the income he received from Russo’s Pharmacy. In total, Russo caused a tax loss of more than $415,000.

“At the same time Daniel Russo was illegally peddling oxycodone out of his pharmacy, he was pocketing – and not paying taxes on – income from those sales and others in his business,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “Everyone is required to pay their fair share of taxes, whether they make their money legitimately or through criminal activity.”

“All too often the opioid epidemic has shown that health care professionals wearing white coats are drug dealers,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace from the Eastern District of New York. “Russo abused his pharmacy license and the trust placed in him by the community to illegally distribute enormous amounts of oxycodone, spreading misery in the community and fueling addiction, all to enrich himself. My Office will continue working with federal and local law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute medical professionals who illegally deal dangerous drugs with the same vigor as those who distribute drugs on the street.”

Russo faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each of the conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute counts, and three years in prison for each count of filing a false tax return. The defendant also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties, as well as forfeiture. U.S. District Court Judge Dora L. Irizarry will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Special agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Health and Human Services, and IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Michael C. Vasiliadis of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Francisco Navarro, Nomi D. Berenson and Andrew D. Wang prosecuted the case.

Updated February 17, 2023

Press Release Number: 23-188