Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Raymond P. Donovan, Special Agent in Charge

January 25, 2016

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-2906

Surgeon Receives 78 Months In Prison For Distributing Oxycodone

Gansevoort man sold oxycodone prescriptions for cash

ALBANY, N.Y. - Jeffrey Gundel, age 51, an orthopedic surgeon from Gansevoort, New York, was sentenced today to 78 months in prison for illegally authorizing the distribution of tens of thousands of oxycodone pills.

The announcement was made by Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt, U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA), New York Division, and United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, Northern District of New York.

On December 3, 2014, Gundel pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful distribution of oxycodone.  As part of his guilty plea, Gundel admitted that, between May 2011 and April 2014, he wrote over 200 prescriptions authorizing the dispensation of at least 59,520 30-milligram oxycodone tablets for no legitimate medical purpose.  Gundel also admitted that he received cash kickbacks after co-conspirators filled the prescriptions and sold the oxycodone pills on the black market.  On several occasions, Gundel prescribed oxycodone to undercover law enforcement agents he never met, treated, or communicated with in any way.

U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino also sentenced Gundel to a term of three years of supervised release, to be served following his release from prison.  In sentencing Gundel, Judge D ’Agostino told him that he “became a common criminal drug dealer” and that there was “no way to quantify how many people became addicted to oxycodone because of your actions.”

Oxycodone is an addictive and often abused Schedule II narcotic prescribed to treat severe pain.  The typical street value of a single tablet of the type prescribed by Gundel ranges from $30 to $45.

Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said:  “Diverted oxycodone is today’s ‘gateway drug’ for heroin abuse, leading to tens of thousands of overdose deaths in the U.S last year.  This guilty plea reiterates that doctors who illegally prescribe pain medication for profit are fueling heroin abuse throughout American cities.  I commend our law enforcement partners and the DEA’s Albany District Office for their diligent efforts throughout this investigation.”    

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian said:  “Prescription drug abuse kills thousands of Americans every year and results in countless others transitioning to heroin to support their opioid addictions.  Doctor Gundel’s reprehensible violation of his duties as a physician caused the streets of this District to be flooded with tens of thousands of deadly, addictive oxycodone pills.  Those who misuse their privilege to prescribe and distribute controlled substances need to understand that they will be investigated and prosecuted just like the criminals selling heroin and other dangerous drugs on the street.”

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration; Albany Resident Office’s Tactical Diversion Squad and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Wayne A. Myers.

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