Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, Anthony Grado, a member of the Luchese organized crime family, and Lawrence Tranese, an organized crime associate, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. The proceeding was before United States Magistrate Judge Sanket J. Bulsara.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the guilty pleas.
“Luchese family member Grado imperiled our community, threatening a doctor to force him to write prescriptions for oxycodone and then trafficking in the addictive drugs,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Violent threats to a doctor by Mafia defendants, combined with their trafficking of oxycodone pills, posed an especially serious danger to our community. As demonstrated by today’s guilty pleas, this Office together with our law enforcement partners will be relentless in the prosecution of organized crime and those who contribute to the opioid epidemic.”
“Organized crime groups and other criminal entities are seizing on the outbreak of addiction plaguing our country to make money,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “It shouldn’t be a shock that members of the Luchese crime family used violence to force a member of the medical community to further their criminal enterprise. The FBI Joint Organized Crime Task Force is committed to aggressively pursuing these groups to stop them from further contributing to the deadly opioid epidemic affecting our country.”
According to court documents and statements at the plea proceedings, Grado and Tranese conspired with others to distribute oxycodone that they obtained through fraudulent prescriptions written on a Brooklyn-based doctor’s prescription pad. Grado, a Luchese family member, together with Tranese and their coconspirators provided the doctor with the names of people for whom the doctor should write prescriptions. The doctor then wrote prescriptions in those names for medications containing oxycodone, usually without conducting any examination. Grado, Tranese and their coconspirators filled the prescriptions and sold the pills. At other times, Grado held the doctor’s prescription pads himself and either had the doctor write the fraudulent prescriptions at his direction, or completed the prescriptions and later advised the doctor of the details.
Members of the conspiracy used violence and threats of violence to seize control of the doctor’s prescription pads. For example, in one recorded conversation, Grado told the doctor that he would make the doctor write “a thousand scripts a day and [expletive] feed you to the [expletive] lions” if the doctor wrote prescriptions without Grado’s approval. In the same conversation, Grado also told the doctor that if the doctor’s newly ordered prescription pads “go in anybody’s hands,” besides Grado’s, “I’ll put a bullet right in your head.” During the course of the conspiracy, Grado also ordered one of his associates to stab the doctor, and the associate carried out the order. Finally, Grado called upon a higher-ranking member of the Luchese crime family to attend a “sit down,” or meeting, to resolve issues related to the pill distribution scheme.
When sentenced, the defendants each face up to 20 years in prison, as well as forfeiture and a fine of up to $1 million.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Mathew S. Miller and Matthew J. Jacobs are in charge of the prosecution.
Monroe Township, New Jersey
Brooklyn, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 17-559 (S-1)