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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 19, 2020

Doctor And Office Manager Charged For Illegally Distributing Oxycodone From Midtown Manhattan Practice

Audrey Strauss, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), Dermot Shea, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), and Scott J. Lampert, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (“HHS-OIG”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment in Manhattan federal court charging HOWARD ADELGLASS, a licensed physician, and MARCELLO SANSONE, an employee at ADELGLASS’s clinic, with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone illegally.  The defendants were arrested yesterday afternoon, and will be presented before United States Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox in Manhattan federal court today.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Kimba M. Wood.

Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “As alleged, Howard Adelglass betrayed his profession by writing thousands of medically unnecessary opioid prescriptions for more than a million oxycodone pills in less than three years.  Marcello Sansone allegedly got promoted from trusted gatekeeper patient to office manager, helping Adelglass run his grotesquely lucrative pill mill.  Now both are in custody and facing federal felony charges.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “The alleged behavior of Adlelglass, a licensed physician, who held a position of trust in our society, causes lasting harm to our communities.  To intentionally peddle these substances into our communities, especially to those who have struggled to overcome the addiction of powerful painkillers, is an offense against all of society.  The type of conspiracy alleged here has led to devastating consequences for addicted patients and their families, and has placed an immense burden on communities who will be left to pick up the pieces of shattered lives.  This particular alleged operation has been shut down, but our message to others engaging in the same type of illegal activity should be clear – put the prescription pad away.  Your medical degree won’t provide you immunity from federal charges or the consequences that will follow.”       

HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert said:  “The defendants allegedly operated a greed-fueled scheme that callously put lives at risk and worsened the opioid epidemic that plagues our country.  Working with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to hold accountable medical professionals who act like drug dealers at the expense of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”  

According to the allegations contained in the Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:[1]

HOWARD ADELGLASS is a licensed physician who, with MARCELLO SANSONE, operated a pain-management clinic located in Midtown Manhattan (the “Clinic”).  The Clinic serviced purported patients seeking oxycodone and other pain-relief medications commonly diverted for illicit purposes.  In exchange for cash payments, ADELGLASS wrote thousands of prescriptions for large quantities of oxycodone to individuals who ADELGLASS knew did not need the pills for any legitimate medical purpose.  Many of the purported patients were addicted to opioids and, in some cases, sold oxycodone pills on the street to drug users.  Most patients were referred to the Clinic by existing, trusted “gatekeeper” patients, of which SANSONE was one.  The Clinic primarily operated on a cash-only basis, and generally operated only for a few hours per day, opening sometime between approximately 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.  After serving as a gatekeeper patient, SANSONE’s role at the Clinic expanded beginning in or about October 2018, when he joined ADELGLASS in managing the Clinic’s operations.  SANSONE helped to control access to ADELGLASS and the lucrative prescriptions he wrote for medically unnecessary oxycodone.

Between in or about November 2017 and in or about September 2020, ADELGLASS prescribed more than 1.3 million oxycodone pills.  ADELGLASS generally dispensed these pills after conducting limited or no examination of the purported patient.  The purported patients who obtained oxycodone through ADELGLASS and SANSONE at the Clinic were often drug-addicted individuals who failed drug tests administered by the Clinic.  ADELGLASS nevertheless continued to prescribe large quantities of oxycodone to these patients, many of whom traveled long distances to obtain the illicit oxycodone from the Clinic. 

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HOWARD ADELGLASS, 65, of New York, New York, and MARCELLO SANSONE, 35, of Old Bridge, New Jersey, are charged each with one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone illegally, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI, NYPD, and HHS-OIG.  She also thanked for its assistance the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) Tactical Diversion Squad - New York City, which comprises agents and officers from the DEA, the NYPD, the New York State Police, New York State Department of Financial Services, New York National Guard, New York City Department of Investigation, and New York State Department of Health Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas W. Chiuchiolo and Daniel G. Nessim are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment, and the description of the Indictment set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Topic(s): 
Opioids
Contact: 
James Margolin, Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
20-264
Updated November 19, 2020