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Press Release

Buffalo Woman Sentenced For Conspiring With A Former Local Doctor To Illegally Distribute Controlled Substances

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

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Laura Ricotta, 29, of Buffalo, who was convicted of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute, and distributing, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and amphetamine, was sentenced to time served (approximately 15 months) by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Timothy C. Lynch and Joshua Violanti, who handled the case, stated that between April 2015 and February 2018, the defendant conspired with co-defendant Dr. James T. Keefe, and others to sell oxycodone, hydrocodone, and amphetamine, all Schedule II controlled substances. Ricotta met Dr. Keefe, who was a New York State licensed physician and a DEA Registrant authorized to issue prescriptions for Schedule II and Schedule IV controlled substances, through her boyfriend, co-defendant Benjamin Rivera. The defendant has known Dr. Keefe for nearly five years and during this time, Dr. Keefe was active user of cocaine, Adderall, and prescription opiates. In April 2015, Dr. Keefe reached out and asked Ricotta to allow him to issue prescriptions in her name and the defendant agreed.

Between April 20, 2015, and February 20, 2018, Ricotta was issued 15 prescriptions in her own name by Dr. Keefe for Schedule II and Schedule IV controlled substances. The defendant also used the names and personal information of six relatives and associates to receive 26 fraudulent prescriptions. Neither Ricotta nor any of her relatives or associates were patients of Dr. Keefe, and none of the relatives and associates knew their information was being used.

Co-defendants Dr. Keefe and Rivera were previously convicted and are awaiting sentencing.

The sentencing is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan.

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Updated December 17, 2020

Drug Trafficking
Prescription Drugs