Clarence Physician Pleads Guilty To Distributing Controlled Substances
CONTACT: Barbara Burns
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BUFFALO, N.Y.--U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Matthew Bennett, 49, of Clarence, NY, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to unlawfully distributing and dispensing oxycodone, a controlled substance. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $1,000,000 fine.
As part of his plea, the defendant will surrender his medical license. Bennett will also forfeit $19,000 in United States currency.
“By putting personal greed ahead of his legal and professional obligations, this doctor crossed the line and in effect became a drug dealer with a degree,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who is handling the case, stated that on seven occasions between May and July 2012, Bennett issued prescriptions for controlled substances to undercover law enforcement officers without a proper medical examination and outside the norms of professional medical treatment. In addition, on several occasions, Bennett gave prescriptions to the undercover officers in exchange for items such as paper products and a gas grill.
Some of the prescriptions were written at the defendant’s office at 624 River Road in North Tonawanda but physical examinations were never performed. Other prescriptions were dispensed at Bennett’s home on Hunting Valley Road in Clarence.
The plea is the result of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, under the direction of James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge, New York Field Division, the Niagara County Drug Task Force, under the direction of Sheriff James Voutour, the Amherst Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Askey, the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda, the Lancaster Police Department, under the direction of Chief Gerald Gill, the West Seneca Police Department, under the direction of Chief Daniel Denz, and the New York State Attorney General=s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.
Sentencing is scheduled for July 30, 2015 at 12:30 before Judge Arcara.