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Justice News

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

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Cheektowaga Surgeon Pleads Guilty To Drug Charge And Lying To The DEA

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

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Dr. Anthony Leone, 55, of Clarence, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford to unlawful possession of a controlled substance and making material false statements. The charges carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura A. Higgins, who is handling the case, stated that on September 8, 2016, the defendant, who was a licensed spine and general orthopedic surgeon and Drug Enforcement Administration registrant, completed a controlled substance form for Henry Schein, a commercial distributor of controlled substances. One of the questions on the form asked Leone if he uses “any controlled substances ordered to treat family members,” to which he responded “no.” That statement was false. Leone in fact ordered zolpidem for treatment of an identified family member.

Further, the form asked the defendant whether he uses any of the controlled drug items he orders for his own personal use, to which he responded “no.” That statement was also false. Leone ordered Adderall XR, tramadol, and clonazepam to use himself.

Finally, the form asked the defendant whether his office performs surgery or any other in office procedures that require the use of controlled substances, to which he responded with the following: “Procedures performed on an outpatient basis: Epidural steroid injections and facet injections, outpatient procedure: lumbar and [illegible word] spine reconstructive surgery.” That statement was also false in that Leone did not administer or dispense controlled substances in his office, but instead, wrote patients prescriptions for fulfillment at a pharmacy.

Thereafter, the defendant ordered and received bulk quantities of Adderall XR, hydrocodone, both Schedule II controlled substances, and clonazepam, tramadol, and zolpidem, all Schedule IV controlled substances from Henry Schein.

On April 24, 2018, the Drug Enforcement Administration conducted an administrative search at Leone’s offices located at 934 Cleveland Drive in Cheektowaga, NY. During that search, the defendant told DEA agents that he ordered quantities of hydrocodone, which he dispensed to patients. In truth and fact, Leone was transporting the hydrocodone from his medical office to his residence on Cobblestone Drive in Clarence, where he stored them for his own personal use.

“As with many of those whose judgment is impaired as a result of their need to feed their addiction, the defendant lied to get what he wanted,” stated U.S. Attorney Kennedy. “Sadly, this case serves as another example of the debilitating and destructive power of addiction, whether its prescription pills or other dangerous, illegal opiates. Simply put – addiction knows no boundaries. That is why it is imperative that we in law enforcement continue vigorously to enforce the law while also continuing to work with our partners in treatment and prevention to battle this epidemic.”    

The plea is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of Ray Donovan, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Field Office.

Sentencing is scheduled for December 16, 2019, before Judge Wolford.

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Updated September 4, 2019