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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
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Feds Say Flood of Oxy in NYC Streamed From Two

MANHATTAN (CN) - Two small pharmacies in Brooklyn and Queens served as fronts for one of New York City's largest oxycodone drug rings, doling out half a million in the addictive prescription medication over a three-year period, federal authorities say.

The allegations are part of a Oct. 29 complaint that says Lilian Wieckowski, who also used the last name Jakacki, and her pharmacy company Chopin Chemists "illegally flooded New York City with hundreds of thousands of prescription pills."

Wieckowski and her husband, Marcin Jakacki, defrauded Medicare by billing for medicines they never dispensed, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara claims.

Wieckowski's pharmacies came onto federal authorities' radar in 2012, they say, noting that the pharmacist's location by that time had been the single largest purchaser of oxycodone in the zip code for three years.

After several visits by Drug Enforcement Agency agents, the government then audited Wieckowski's Brooklyn pharmacy in June 2013 and found numerous records-keeping violations. Among the violations were that she allegedly kept shoddy inventory records and failed to notify the DEA of 11 alleged theft and loss incidents.

More notably, however, was that Wieckowski allowed her Brooklyn pharmacy to dispense 400,000 oxycodone pills without a prescription, according to the complaint.

Finding that more than 1,300 of the prescriptions had been forged, the government says that some prescriptions were made out to famous luxury brand names, such as Coach or Chanel, while in others the prescriptions were forged by Wieckowski herself using phony patient names.

CVS, which is not a party to the action, bought the Jakackis' Brooklyn pharmacy in April 2014, but the government says illegal drug sales continued at their Queens pharmacy thereafter.

"Chopin Pharmacy was making a killing off the profit of illicit Oxycodone sales," DEA special agent in charge James Hunt said in a statement.

The lawsuit also names as a defendant Robert Cybulski, a Staten Island man described as one of the largest purchasers of the painkillers from Chopin Brooklyn. The government says Cybulski bought tens of thousands of the pills.

Oxycodone - and particularly brand name OxyContin - has quickly become one of the most abused opioids on the illegal drug market.

The government also hopes to nail Wieckowski with having defrauded Medicare by selling $790,000 worth of medicine that was never dispensed.

It says the scheme relied on customers bringing prescriptions for multiple units of medicine to one Chopin Pharmacy locations. Wieckowski would submit claims for Medicare reimbursement, but would dispense only one unit the medicine to the customer in exchange for store credit, according to the complaint.

Authorities say Wieckowski laundered her illicit funds from the drug peddling and Medicare fraud via structured financial transactions, as well as the couple's $2 million house in Greenwich, Conn.

Wieckowski faces a maximum of 85 years in prison, while her husband faces as many as 60 years behind bars.

Their lawyer could not be immediately reached for comment.

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