JAN 24 (NEWARK, N.J.) – The former pharmacist-in-charge of West Orange Pharmacy today admitted to illegally distributing hundreds of tablets of oxycontin in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Leonard "Lenny" Stefanelli, 49, of East Hanover, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael A. Hammer to an information charging him with illegally dispensing oxycodone. Stefanelli also admitted to conspiring with brothers Robert Carlucci and William Carlucci, both 70, both of Florham Park, N.J., to submit fraudulent bills to health care benefit providers, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Stefanelli agreed forfeit $1.5 million, consisting of illegal profits obtained from his illegal sales of oxycodone and his submission of fraudulent bills to health care benefit providers.
According to documents filed in this and other cases, and statements made in court:
Oxycodone, the active ingredient in brand name pills such as Oxycontin, is a Schedule II controlled substance B meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions, and abuse of the drug may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence. A pharmacist can only dispense a Schedule II controlled substance when presented with a written prescription from a doctor.
From February 1, 2012, to August 6, 2012, on at least six separate occasions, Stefanelli sold hundreds of tablets of Oxycontin to an individual, without a prescription, in exchange for cash. Each sale took place inside West Orange Pharmacy. For example, on February 8, 2012, Stefanelli sold one bottle of 100-count Oxycontin 30-mg tablets and one bottle of 100-count Oxycontin 15-mg tablets for $1,800.
Between 1992 and October 2012, Stefanelli conspired with Robert Carlucci and William Carlucci to submit fraudulent bills to health care benefit providers, including Medicaid and Medicare, reaping at least $921,634 from his scheme. Robert Carlucci and William Carlucci previously pleaded guilty to committing health care fraud by participating in a variety of schemes designed to cheat customers and bilk insurance companies out of millions of dollars. They are both scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 27, 2014.
The narcotics distribution charge to which Stefanelli pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. Sentencing is scheduled for April 30, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Faith S. Hochberg.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Carl Kotowski; and special agents of the Food & Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations, under the direction of Mark Dragonetti, with the investigation leading to today's guilty plea. He also thanked the Elizabeth, Clinton, Toms River, West Orange, and Marlboro police departments, along with the Essex County Sheriff's Department, for their work on this case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal of the U.S. Attorney's Office Criminal Division in Newark.