Central Islip, NY - July 22, 2014 - Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, Long Island doctor Leonard I. Stambler was sentenced to 10 years in prison by United States District Court Judge Joseph F. Bianco. Stambler was convicted by a jury in October 2013 following three weeks of trial of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and distribution of oxycodone, a highly addictive prescription pain killer, in connection with prescriptions that he provided to patients outside the scope of his professional practice and not for any medical purpose. At the time of the verdict, the defendant’s bail was revoked, and he was ordered detained pending sentencing.
The conviction was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; James J. Hunt, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York; Thomas C. Krumpter, Acting Commissioner, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD); Joseph A. D’Amico, Superintendent, New York State Police (NYSP); and Shantelle P. Kitchen, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS).
“Rather than ‘Do No Harm,’ Dr. Stambler acted as a drug dealer, putting thousands of oxycodone pills onto the streets of Long Island for no valid medical reason, even going so far as to drive his patient-friends to a drug deal,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “This conviction and sentence should serve as a warning to any health care professionals engaged in such conduct that in addition to losing their license to practice medicine, they will face prison for such conduct.” Ms. Lynch extended her grateful appreciation to each of the law enforcement agencies for their assistance in this case.
At trial, the government’s evidence established that Stambler provided prescriptions for hundreds of oxycodone pills to two of his patients without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the course of a professional medical practice, and also conspired with those patients and assisted them in the sale of pills that he prescribed. On November 21, 2011, investigators with the DEA Task Force observed Stambler driving his patient, Christopher Adams, to a pharmacy in East Rockaway, New York, where Stambler and Adams filled a prescription that Stambler had written in the name of Adams’s girlfriend, Nancy Cook. As investigators watched, Stambler then drove Adams to a nearby location to meet with a third individual where some of the oxycodone pills were exchanged for cash. Investigators stopped Stambler’s vehicle shortly after the drug deal. On a separate occasion, Stambler drove Cook, who was also Stambler’s patient, to a home in East Rockaway where she sold oxycodone pills to the same individual involved in the November 21, 2011, drug deal. Both Adams and Cook testified at trial about Stambler’s participation in the drug transactions as well as their own destructive addiction to oxycodone.
Oxycodone is a scheduled controlled substance that may be dispensed by medical professionals only for a legitimate medical purpose in the usual course of a doctor’s professional practice. It is a powerful and highly addictive drug and is increasingly abused because of its potency when crushed into a powder and ingested, leading to a heroin like euphoria.
Stambler’s conviction is the latest in a series of federal prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York as part of the Prescription Drug Initiative. In January 2012, this Office and the DEA, in conjunction with the five District Attorneys in this jurisdiction, the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments, the New York City Police Department, and New York State Police, along with other key federal, state, and local government partners, launched the Prescription Drug Initiative to mount a comprehensive response to what the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Disease Control and Prevention has called an epidemic increase in the abuse of so-called opioid analgesics. So far, the Prescription Drug Initiative has brought over 160 federal and local criminal prosecutions, including the prosecution of 15 health care professionals, taken civil enforcement actions against a hospital, a pharmacy, and a pharmacy chain, removed prescription authority from numerous rogue doctors, and expanded information-sharing among enforcement agencies to better target and pursue drug traffickers. The Initiative also is involved in an extensive community outreach program to address the abuse of pharmaceuticals.
The government’s case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Allen Bode.
Name: LEONARD I. STAMBLER
Residence: Baldwin Harbor, NY