Manhattan U.S. Attorney and FBI Assistant Director Announce Charges Against Doctor for Illegal Distribution of More Than One Thousand Oxycodone Pills
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Diego Rodriguez, Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the unsealing of a Complaint against a doctor who participated in a drug distribution conspiracy involving the prescription painkiller oxycodone. As detailed further below, the doctor, NICHOLAS KALOUDIS, operated out of Long Island and engaged in an interstate distribution scheme involving more than one thousand oxycodone tablets obtained through medically unnecessary prescriptions over a two-year period.
KALOUDIS, an endocrinologist, was arrested yesterday morning in connection with the charge in the Complaint and was presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael H. Dolinger yesterday afternoon.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, the defendant violated the law and the oath of his profession when he wrote medically unnecessary prescriptions for pure profit. A physician contributing to the epidemic of pain medication abuse is a prescription for disaster.”
FBI Assistant Director Diego Rodriguez said: “The charges alleged in the complaint describe a growing epidemic that exploits the integrity of the healthcare system. Selling scripts for cash is not a victimless crime, and those who violate the oath of their profession in this way are directly contributing to the illegal distribution of drugs sold on the street. The Health Care Fraud Task Force was formed in part to protect the public from unscrupulous doctors who put profiteering ahead of professional responsibility. Those who employ these schemes will most certainly be brought to justice.”
The following allegations are based on the Complaint unsealed yesterday in Manhattan federal court:
Starting in approximately 2013 and continuing through February 2015, KALOUDIS operated out of medical clinics in Long Island, where KALOUDIS, a Board certified, state licensed doctor, wrote medically unnecessary prescriptions for more than one thousand oxycodone pills in exchange for cash payments. On multiple occasions over the course of this two-year period, KALOUDIS charged hundreds or thousands of dollars in cash for “patient visits” that involved little, if any, actual examination and resulted in the issuance of a prescription for a large quantity of oxycodone, typically 30-milligram tablets. Some of the oxycodone illegally prescribed by KALOUDIS was subsequently resold, including in Virginia, resulting in the unlawful interstate distribution of thousands of oxycodone tablets.
Oxycodone is a prescription-strength Schedule II narcotic used to treat severe and chronic pain conditions. Oxycodone can result in addiction similar to an addiction to codeine or morphine, and there is an illegal market for oxycodone, as a substitute for – or adjunct to – other illegal narcotics, such as heroin.
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The defendant is charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. The statutory maximum sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by the judge.
Mr. Bharara thanked the FBI’s Health Care Fraud Task Force for their work in this investigation, which he noted is ongoing. The New York FBI Health Care Fraud Task Force was formed in 2007 in an effort to combat health care fraud in the greater New York City area. The task force comprises agents, officers, and investigators from the FBI, the NYPD, the New York State Insurance Fraud Bureau, the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Inspector General, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the New York State Attorney General’s Office, the New York State Office of Medicaid Inspector General, the New York State Health and Hospitals Inspector General, the New York City Human Resources Administration’s Bureau of Fraud Investigation, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.