New Jersey Physician Convicted on Drug Conspiracy Charges
SEP 19 -- (NEWARK) – Gerard P. McAleer, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New Jersey Division and U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey, Christopher J. Christie, announced a federal jury convicted a Bloomfield physician, Joan Jaszczult, of conspiring to illegally distribute thousands of OxyContin and Percocet pills.
Following a four-week trial, the jury convicted Jaszczult on one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and one count of distribution of oxycodone. The jury deliberated about three hours.
In finding Jaszczult guilty, the jury found that Jaszczult conspired to distribute oxycodone, the main ingredient in narcotic painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet, with co-conspirators who bought prescriptions from her and subsequently distributed the pills on the streets of northern New Jersey. The jury also concluded that Jaszczult illegally distributed oxycodone on June 30, 2005, when she wrote and sold a Percocet prescription to a cooperating government witness in the name of someone whom she had never met and who was not a patient of hers.
Jaszczult, 46, was arrested on Sept. 20, 2005, by Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the FBI.
U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler scheduled sentencing for Jan. 3, 2008. Jaszczult remains free on bail pending sentencing.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys R. Joseph Gribko and Jonathan W. Romankow.
According to the government’s calculation under the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, Jaszczult faces a probable sentencing range of between 292 to 365 months in federal prison. However, Judge Chesler, while required to consult the guidelines, has wide discretion and can impose a sentence within the range or above or below the range. The Sentencing Guidelines take into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, if any, and other factors.
The drug distribution count on which Jaszczult was convicted related to Jaszczult’s acceptance of cash payments in her Bloomfield office in exchange for writing excessive amounts of prescriptions for OxyContin as well as for other oxycodone-based narcotics such as Percocet. Co-conspirators were able to obtain the prescriptions from Jaszczult in their names for non-existent medical conditions. They were also able to obtain them in the names of individuals whom Jaszczult had never examined, diagnosed, treated or otherwise met. To avoid detection, the cash-paying "patients" used a large number of national and independently owned pharmacies to fill the illegally obtained prescriptions. Once in possession of the actual pills, the "patients" would sell them, for huge profits, to middlemen who would then further distribute them for additional profits.
The substantive count on which Jaszczult was convicted related to Jaszczult’s sale of a Percocet prescription to a confidential informant on June 30, 2005. On that date, Jaszczult wrote and sold a Percocet prescription to the informant which was written in the name of an individual who was not present in the office at the time, and who was not a patient of Jaszczult’s.