Scarsdale Couple Busted by the Special Narcotics Prosecutor
- The Goods
- Published on Tuesday, 09 June 2015 18:18
- Joanne Wallenstein
A Scarsdale doctor and his wife have been arrested by the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York for conspiracy and illegal prescription sales during a six and half year period in which they sold over $77 million of painkillers. Moreover, a search of their home on Black Birch Lane yielded $600,000 in cash. If Scarsdale was surprised by the "pot" mom, imagine how Quaker Ridge neighbors feel about this foray into harder drugs and bigger time crime.
According to a press release from the prosecutor's office, Dr. Rogelio Lucas, age 77, and his wife Lydia Lucas, age 79, were arrested on the morning of June 9th outside their apartment at 215 West 95th Street in New York. The couple, who also owns a home at 15 Black Birch Lane in Scarsdale, were the subject of a long-term investigation. Prosecutors say that Dr. Lucas - who is a licensed internist - originally ran a regular medical practice where he treated elderly patients who were covered by Medicaid. But in 2009 he converted his business to a "a pill mill ...churning out tens of thousands of prescriptions for oxycodone in exchange for illegal cash payments."
Working out of his office at 215 West 101st Street Dr. Lucas wrote 45 to 50 prescriptions for oxycodone a day. Prosecutors say there was often a crowd in the waiting room, which prompted complaints from neighbors. Lucas relocated his office three times before landing at his current location.
The doctor allegedly wrote oxycodone prescriptions patients with no legitimate medical need for the pain medication. His wife Lydia assisted by collecting approximately $120 cash for each office visit. Since Jan. 2, 2009, the doctor wrote over 23,600 oxycodone prescriptions for approximately 3.1 million pills. The pills would have carried an estimated street value of $77 million on the black market.
In the course of the investigation, agents searched the Lucas' office, apartment in Manhattan and the home at 15 Black Birch Lane in Scarsdale. In Scarsdale, they discovered more than $600,000 in cash. They also seized medical and bank records.
For the year between June 2013 and July 2014, Dr. Lucas and his wife made approximately $500,000 in cash deposits into multiple bank accounts.
Lucas' business extended beyond the walls of his office to drug rings. Investigators believe multiple drug rings received oxycodone prescriptions from him. It is alleged that members of the drug ring recruited runners to visit the doctor's office and obtain prescriptions. These runners waited an hour or more to see the doctor, though some received preferential treatment and were moved to the head of the line. Though photo I.D. was required for patients, the doctor only performed "cursory examinations" and took no patient history. Investigators believe that the prescriptions received from the doctor were filled at pharmacies and the pills were turned over to the drug ring for distribution.
In a press release dated June 9, 2015, Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said, "Dr. Lucas is charged with being one of the city's most prolific illegal prescribers of the black market's favorite pill - 30 mg oxycodone. Instead of healing, doctors who routinely sign orders for unneeded narcotic drugs endanger the health and welfare of the public. Corrupt doctors who exchange prescriptions for cash have stoked the epidemic of addiction gripping our region."
DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt stated, "When Dr. Lucas first opened his medical practice on the Upper West Side, residents embraced the thought of having a family doctor in the neighborhood. But when Dr. Lucas' illegal medical practices pushed residents out of his office, he replaced them with drug traffickers; exchanging medically unnecessary prescriptions for cash. Law enforcement at all levels continues to investigate and arrest those responsible for enabling the opioid addict population by distributing heroin or diverted prescription pills throughout our communities."
"This doctor allegedly abused his position as a medical professional, profiting from the sale of prescriptions while fueling the supply of a highly addictive painkiller that has led to numerous overdose deaths," said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton. "Thanks to the efforts of the investigators involved in this case and our law enforcement partners, this organization will no longer distribute these pills into our communities."
Doctor Lucas was indicted for conspiracy in the 4th degree, and 37 counts of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance for allegedly selling prescriptions for oxycodone, a powerful opioid painkiller in exchange for cash over the course of six and a half years. His wife Lydia Lucas is change with a count of Conspiracy in the 4th degree and 37 counts of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance.
The Lucases were arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court before Justice Bonnie G. Wittner on Tuesday afternoon June 6th.The judge set bail at $1 million dollars and ordered the couple to turn in their passports.
The arrests are the result of a long-term investigation by the Special Narcotics Prosecutor's Prescription Drug Investigation Unit, the DEA New York Division's Tactical Diversion Squad (Group TDS-NY), the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and HRA. Assisting in the investigation were the New York State Health Department's Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement (BNE), the Nassau County Police Department and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Group TDS-NY is comprised of agents and officers from the DEA, the NYPD, the Town of Orangetown Police Department and the Westchester County Police Department.
Though no pictures of the suspects were released, Erin Mulvey from the Drug Enforcement Agency forwarded the picture above of the cash seized from the Lucas home at 15 Black Birch Lane in Scarsdale.