Local Medical Doctor Pleads Guilty to Illegally Dispensing and Distributing Controlled Substances by Prescriptions and Money Laundering
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that WAYNE JEROME CELESTINE, M.D., age 58, a physician who practiced in Gretna and resided in New Orleans, pleaded guilty yesterday to two counts in the Second Superseding Indictment, charging him with illegally dispensing controlled substances and money laundering.
On Monday, April 30, 2018, DR. CELESTINE was arrested on charges of distribution of controlled substances. According to court records, DR. CELESTINE illegally dispensed and conspired with others to illegally dispense controlled substances, including oxycodone, a Schedule II drug controlled substance.
DR. CELESTINE made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Daniel E. Knowles, III, on Monday, April 30, 2018. A detention hearing was held on May 1, 2018; and he was ordered detained in custody pending resolution of the case.
DR. CELESTINE will face a mandatory term of seven years in prison on the charges if the Court accepts the plea agreement. DR. CELESTINE will also be subject to a fine of $1.5 Million and a term of supervised release of at least three years, following any term of imprisonment. Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, DR. CELESTINE will forfeit to the United States: over $1 Million in seized currency, investment accounts, and negotiable instruments; and over $1 Million Dollars in seized vehicles, residences, and commercial properties. By virtue of the plea agreement, DR. CELESTINE has acknowledged that these assets represent proceeds and/or facilitating property of the crimes for which he has pled guilty. United States District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo set a sentencing hearing on February 28, 2019, at 9:30 a.m., at which time she will decide whether the Court accepts the plea agreement.
U.S. Attorney Strasser praised the work of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, Harahan Police Department, Westwego Police Department, Louisiana State Police, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office, New Orleans Police Department, and New Orleans District Attorney’s Office in investigating this matter. Assistant United States Attorneys John F. Murphy and Andre J. Lagarde are in charge of the prosecution.