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Press Release

Doctor Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison for Unlawfully Distributing Opioids and Soliciting Sexual Favors from Patients in Exchange for Opioids

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. – A New York doctor was sentenced today to 57 months in prison for distributing opioids without a legitimate medical reason and soliciting sexual favors from patients in exchange for opioid prescriptions, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Joseph Santiamo, 65, of Staten Island, New York, previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp to an information charging him with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, a controlled dangerous substance. Judge Shipp imposed the sentence by videoconference today.

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

From Jan. 1, 2012, through May 3, 2018, Santiamo owned and operated a medical practice in Staten Island focused on internal medicine and geriatric care. He prescribed large quantities of oxycodone outside the ordinary course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. For some of his patients, there was no medical necessity for Santiamo to treat them with oxycodone, nor to prescribe the large quantities that he did. In addition, Santiamo solicited sexual favors from certain of his younger patients in exchange for unlawful oxycodone prescriptions. These patients were all under the age of 40 at the time Santiamo provided them with prescriptions and thus would not typically be treated by a geriatric care physician like Santiamo. In some instances, Santiamo did this despite evidence that certain patients were abusing opioids.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Shipp sentenced Santiamo to three years of supervised release and fined him $30,000.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents, diversion investigators and task force officers of the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Susan A. Gibson in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Baker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Opioid Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Unit in Newark.

Updated May 6, 2021

Prescription Drugs
Press Release Number: 21-188