Pharmacies Charged in Multimillion-Dollar Opioid Diversion Scheme

Article

A pharmacist and 2 pharmacies are facing criminal and civil charges for an oxycodone distribution scheme that "flooded" New York City with illegal substances.

A pharmacist and 2 pharmacies are facing criminal and civil charges for an oxycodone distribution scheme that “flooded” New York City with illegal substances.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara called it “one of the largest opioid painkiller diversion schemes ever uncovered in New York.”

The charges are against pharmacist Lilian Wieckowski, her husband Marcin Jakacki, and another individual named Robert Cybulski, plus the European Apothecary and MW&W Global Enterprises Inc, both of which did business as Chopin Chemists.

Beyond the charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, Wieckowski and Jakacki also face charges of money laundering, and Wieckowski is accused of health care fraud.

Wieckowski allegedly misbranded prescription drugs and defrauded Medicare by more than $750,000 through reimbursements of drugs she never dispensed.

The US attorney’s office maintains that these individuals and pharmacies illegally doled out more than 500,000 oxycodone tablets (street value of $10 million to $15 million) in a 5-year period.

A civil lawsuit has also been filed against the 2 pharmacies for civil penalties and damages for violations of the Controlled Substances Act and the False Claims Act.

The defendants allegedly dispensed oxycodone based on “obviously fake” prescriptions or without any prescription at all.

“Whether it is the corrupt doctor writing unwarranted prescriptions, the greedy pharmacist selling pills based on fake or no prescriptions, or the street-level drug dealer peddling painkillers directly to the addicted, we must confront this escalating epidemic at every level,” Bharara said.

The Chopin pharmacy in Brooklyn was the largest purchaser of oxycodone tablets in its zip code for 3 straight years.

In addition, its orders in that zip code exceeded the second-highest purchaser’s by more than 240,000 tablets each year.

A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation uncovered that the Chopin in Brooklyn had dispensed more than 400,000 oxycodone tablets without prescriptions.

Among other illegal activities uncovered during its investigations, the DEA also discovered that Wieckowski and Jakacki had bought a $2 million home using proceeds from their oxycodone distribution scheme.

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