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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Vermont

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New York Man Sentenced to 110 Months in Federal Prison for Selling Oxycodone and Laundering Money in Vermont Over A Six-Year Period

The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that, on May 22, 2017, The Honorable William K. Sessions III, sitting in Burlington, sentenced Michael J. Foreste, aka “Beast,” of Valley Stream, New York to 110 months’ imprisonment and three years of supervised release. Foreste was convicted at trial on 10 charges related to his oxycodone trafficking in Vermont over a six-year period. Specifically, in October 2016, a jury convicted Foreste, age 36, of (1) conspiring to distribute oxycodone in Vermont from about 2008 through June 2014; (2) distributing oxycodone (seven counts); and (3) money laundering (two counts). The jury returned a not guilty verdict relating to an additional count charging oxycodone distribution. The verdict was returned following a trial spanning two weeks. Judge Sessions III presided over the trial. At sentencing, Judge Sessions also ordered Foreste to forfeit his interest in a 2007 Lexus, which Foreste used to launder drug proceeds.

The Fourth Superseding Indictment charged Foreste with working with others to sell oxycodone from 2008 through June 2014, including Andre Clarke, Carol Clarke and Dannis Hackney. During that period, Andre Clarke served as a New York City police officer. Earlier this year, Clarke pled guilty to his role in the conspiracy and resigned from the NYPD. His sentencing is scheduled for November 7. In September 2016, Hackney pled guilty to several charges relating to his involvement in the oxycodone scheme. He is also awaiting sentencing. Carol Clarke is under federal indictment for conspiring to distribute oxycodone and awaiting trial.

According to prosecutors, Carol Clarke, who lived in Brooklyn, received a monthly prescription for hundreds of oxycodone to treat her sickle cell disease. She diverted the pills to her brother, Andre Clarke, of Long Island, who supplied them to Foreste. In the early part of the conspiracy, Foreste brought the pills to Vermont himself and sold them with the help of certain local addicts. In April 2012, however, Vermont State Police stopped Foreste in a vehicle on Interstate 91 North and seized 659 oxycodone pills from his person. Based on this event, Foreste sustained a federal conviction in 2013 for possession with intent to distribute oxycodone and was on pretrial release during much of the conduct involved in the current case. After April 2012, Foreste began working with Hackney, of Chittenden County, who sold Foreste’s pills to Burlington area addicts. Foreste eventually began mailing the pills to Hackney via the U.S. Mail Express Mail system. The Clarkes, Foreste, and Hackney transferred drug proceeds using various bank accounts, resulting in Foreste’s two convictions for money laundering. The evidence presented at trial demonstrated that Foreste’s drug distribution in Vermont yielded him illicit profits in excess of $500,000 over the course of the conspiracy. Foreste and Hackney have been in custody since their arrests in June 2014.

The convictions and sentencing of Foreste were the culmination of a multi-agency investigation and prosecution that began in mid-2014. The collaborative effort was spearheaded by Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Vermont State Police, the Burlington Police Department, and the NYPD. Foreste is represented by Mark Kaplan, of Burlington, and Natasha Sen, of Brandon. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christina E. Nolan and Kevin J. Doyle.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Prescription Drugs
Component(s): 
Updated May 23, 2017