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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 21, 2019

Staten Island Doctor Pleads Guilty To Illegally Distributing Oxycodone

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that NKANGA NKANGA, a Staten Island physician, pled guilty to illegally distributing oxycodone and other controlled substances.  NKANGA pled guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman to narcotics conspiracy and distribution charges.  NKANGA will be sentenced by United States District Judge Jesse M. Furman, to whom the case is assigned.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As he admitted today, Nkanga Nkanga violated the law and the oath of his profession by knowingly selling prescriptions for dangerous opioids to people who did not need them.  Indeed, he sold prescriptions to people he had reason to believe were addicted to these potentially lethal drugs.  Now he awaits sentencing for his role as a drug dealer masquerading as a doctor.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment to which NKANGA pled guilty, public court filings, and statements made in court: 

From at least 2013 until late 2018, in exchange for cash payments, NKANGA wrote hundreds of oxycodone and other controlled substances prescriptions for patients he knew had no legitimate medical need for them, some of whom displayed visible signs of drug addiction.  NKANGA wrote prescriptions for these highly addictive substances without conducting any physical examination, or seeing patients in an examination room.  NKANGA wrote prescriptions in the names of patients who did not even visit his medical office.  On one occasion, for instance, NKANGA asked a patient, “[H]ow many people are you representing today,” and then wrote prescriptions in the names of multiple people, even though three were not present.  NKANGA regularly prescribed over 100 oxycodone pills per patient per month until mid-2018, when he reduced all patients’ monthly allotment, telling one patient he was “very worried” about scrutiny from law enforcement.  

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NKANGA, 66, of Staten Island, New York, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and four counts of distribution of controlled substances.  Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The statutory maximum sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Sentencing before Judge Furman is scheduled for January 30, 2020, at 3:30 p.m.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (“DEA”) New York Tactical Diversion Squad, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of the Inspector General, and the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”).  DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squad (Group TDS-NY) comprises agents and officers from the DEA, the NYPD, the New York State Police, New York State Department of Financial Services, and New York City Department of Investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s Narcotics Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Nicolas Roos, Jacob R. Fiddelman, and Cecilia E. Vogel are in charge of the prosecution. 

Press Release Number: 
19-348
Updated October 21, 2019