On July 8, a 47-year-old former director of pharmacy services for New York City’s Beth Israel Medical Center was charged with the theft of 200,000 narcotic pills. The pills in question were oxycodone, and the New York City special narcotics prosecutor said that the alleged thefts occurred for more than a five-year period.
The ex-pharmacy director was indicted on drug charges for allegedly operating as a high-level trafficker as defined by New York’s Drug Kingpin law. He also faces potentially severe penalties of anywhere from eight years to life in prison for grand larceny and nearly 250 counts of criminal possession of controlled substances. Prosecutors accused him of falsifying records in the hospital’s inventory system in order to divert the pills as well as creating false prescriptions.
According to a representative for the prosecution, the authorities remain unsure what the man did with the painkillers that he allegedly stole. The missing inventory was discovered when two health care providers went through a corporate merger, received a tip, launched an internal investigation and alerted the city’s Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor. The stolen pills were said to be worth about $5.6 million in total.
Drug charges are rarely simple. Prosecutors seeking to cut off large sections of the illicit drug market may decide to attach large-dollar values to high-profile cases in lieu of going after small distributors, and those whom they target can consequently have difficulties maintaining their public image and fighting court battles. Furthermore, the fact that many states implement mandatory minimum sentences and allow for asset forfeiture even without convictions can throw defendants’ lives into utter disarray. Although prosecutors commonly offer plea bargains, the accused may wish to consult with legal professionals before accepting deals.
Source: Reuters, “Former New York City hospital executive charged with $5.6 million painkiller theft“, Curtis Skinner, July 08, 2014