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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, April 11, 2019

Manhattan Doctor Indicted For Diverting Drugs And Causing Patient’s Overdose Death

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the unsealing today of an Indictment in Manhattan federal court charging a doctor who practiced in Manhattan, GORDON FREEDMAN, with 16 counts of distributing oxycodone, fentanyl, and other controlled substances to a particular patient, including one count for distributing fentanyl that caused the patient’s death.  FREEDMAN was arrested this morning, and is expected to be presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn in Manhattan federal court this afternoon.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Physicians take an oath to practice medicine for the sole purpose of improving their patients’ health.  Instead, Gordon Freedman allegedly used his medical license to overprescribe dangerous opioids to a patient.  When overprescribing deadly fentanyl for no legitimate medical purpose, it is just a matter of time before luck runs out – and in this case it has – as a patient of Freedman’s has allegedly suffered a fatal overdose as a result of Freedman’s alleged misconduct.”    

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Everyone knows the inherent danger in buying and selling drugs on the street, but when doctors overprescribe legal substances in lethal quantities, they too contribute to the overall drug epidemic. These drugs pose a real threat to our society. We hope to send the message today that there’s no quick fix for doctors who hide behind their prescription pad—this is criminal activity, and it will be treated as such.” 

As alleged in the Indictment[1] unsealed today in Manhattan federal court:

From in or about 2013 through in or about May 2017, FREEDMAN, who worked at and owned a private pain-management office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and was an associate clinical professor at a large hospital in Manhattan, prescribed numerous controlled substances to a particular patient (“Patient-1”), including enormous quantities of oxycodone and fentanyl. For example, in 2013 alone, FREEDMAN prescribed Patient-1 approximately 85,427 oxycodone pills – an average of approximately 234 oxycodone pills per day – containing a total of approximately 2,422,435mg of oxycodone. 

On or about April 13, 2017, FREEDMAN gave Patient-1 prescriptions for approximately 150 doses of a drug containing fentanyl, and for approximately 950 oxycodone pills containing approximately 30mg of oxycodone per pill.  On or about May 4, 2017, Patient-1 died of a fentanyl overdose after ingesting a quantity of the drug prescribed by FREEDMAN on or about April 13, 2017.

*                *                *

FREEDMAN, 58, of Mount Kisco, New York, is charged with one count of distributing controlled substances resulting in the death of another, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison.  FREEDMAN is also charged with 15 counts of distributing controlled substances, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentence for the defendant will be determined by the judge.

In March 2018, FREEDMAN was indicted in a separate case, U.S. v. Gordon Freedman et al., 18 Cr. 217 (KMW), on charges of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute, violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute, and conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud. Trial in that case is scheduled to begin November 4, 2019, before the Honorable Kimba M. Wood.

Mr. Berman praised the FBI and the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”) for their investigative efforts and ongoing support and assistance with the case.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Noah Solowiejczyk and David Abramowicz are in charge of the prosecution.

 

[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.

Press Release Number: 
19-122
Updated April 11, 2019