A.G. Schneiderman Announces Jail Sentence For Major Oxycodone Trafficker On Staten Island

Michael Mancusi Gets Seven Years in State Prison for Illegally Obtaining More than 6,000 Oxycodone Pills by Scamming Automobile Insurance Carriers, Defrauding Medicaid and Medicare And Doctor Shopping

Ground-Breaking I-STOP Legislation Will End Doctor Shopping Crimes

A.G. Schneiderman: Predator Dealt Drugs At Taxpayer Expense

 

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the state prison sentence of Michael A. Mancusi, a major narcotics trafficker on Staten Island.  Last month Mancusi, 27, pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree and admitted that he illegally obtained and sold thousands of prescription narcotics, including oxycodone.  Mancusi admitted supplying his trafficking operation by fraudulently claiming serious and permanent injuries from multiple motor vehicle accidents and by applying for Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicaid and Medicare benefits to unlawfully obtain prescription drugs, including oxycodone, alprazolam (commonly known as Xanax) and fentanyl patches. Together with his girlfriend, co-defendant Shannon Daniell, 23, and other co-conspirators, Mancusi illegally sold the drugs to buyers in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey.  Today, consistent with the terms of his plea agreement, Mancusi was sentenced to seven years in State prison and five years post-release supervision.

The conviction follows a successful effort by Attorney General Schneiderman to overhaul the state’s prescription drug monitoring system in order to prevent cases of doctor shopping and pharmacy shopping like this one.  The legislature unanimously passed the Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, or I-STOP, in June. First introduced by Attorney General Schneiderman, the legislation requires doctors to review a patient’s prescription drug history and update it in real time when writing prescriptions for certain controlled substances. Had such a system been in place at the time Mancusi committed his crimes, authorities could have quickly stopped his doctor-shopping.

“This ends a scheme that dealt illegal prescription pills at the taxpayers’ expense and gets a dangerous drug trafficker off our streets,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “The epidemic of prescription drug abuse has plagued too many of our communities for far too long. We are cracking down on this crisis with every tool at our disposal.”

Today, before Judge Alan J. Meyer in Richmond County Criminal Court, Mancusi was sentenced to seven years in State prison for Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree (a class A-II felony); two and one-third years to seven years for Insurance Fraud in the Second Degree (a class C felony) and Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a Class C felony); and one and one-third years to four years for Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (a Class E felony).  The court ordered Mancusi’s sentences to run concurrently. Mancusi was additionally sentenced to five years post release supervision.

On October 10, 2012, during a lengthy allocution before Judge Alan J. Meyer, Mancusi admitted that following motor vehicle accidents on January 6, 2007, and January 9, 2007, he made false claims of physical injury to obtain automobile insurance no-fault benefits and also initiated multiple lawsuits, fraudulently claiming serious injury and protracted pain. Mancusi admitted that he then used his fraudulent claims to obtain Medicaid and Social Security Disability Insurance benefits and, subsequently, Medicare benefits.

Mancusi further admitted that he used his false claims of injury to engage in doctor-shopping to find medical providers who would prescribe him oxycodone and other controlled substances.  Thereafter, defendant Mancusi obtained various prescriptions for controlled substances, funded by auto insurance no-fault benefits as well as by his Medicaid and Medicare benefits.  Ring-leader Mancusi, along with Daniell and other co-conspirators, then unlawfully distributed these prescription medications for profit.

Mancusi admitted that through his fraudulent scheme, between August 1, 2011, and August 8, 2012. alone, he obtained 14 bottles of 10-milligram oxycodone tablets (a total of 3,360 pills) and 13 bottles of 30-milligram oxycodone tables (a total of 3,120 pills), as well as additional prescriptions for 15-milligarm oxycodone tables, alprazolam (Xanax) and fentanyl patches.  Oxycodone, a Schedule II narcotic drug, is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic, a class of drugs which also includes morphine and heroin. Fentanyl, also a Schedule II narcotic, is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic similar to but more potent than morphine. Both drugs are typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. Alprazolam, a Schedule IV controlled substance, is a long-lasting depressant belonging to the benzodiazepine family and is typically used therapeutically to produce sedation, induce sleep, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms and prevent seizures. All three prescription drugs are commonly diverted for illicit use and street sales.

Mancusi admitted that between August 1, 2011, and August 8, 2012, he and Daniell earned over $75,000 from their illegal drug sales. 

In addition to serving seven years behind bars, as part of his guilty plea and sentence, defendant Mancusi signed General Releases of Claims discharging all outstanding claims related to his motor vehicle accidents, including discontinuing his pending lawsuits. Mancusi further agreed to forfeit to the New York State Office of the Attorney General the contents of a safe recovered pursuant to a search warrant executed at his house, including $47,070 in cash as well as various chains, pendants, necklaces and watches and two vehicles, a Lincoln Navigator and Mercury Marquis.  

"This successful arrest, prosecution and conviction of a significant drug dealer is the latest of many prosecutions brought recently by Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies,” said Staten Island District Attorney Daniel M. Donovan.  “Clearly, we are all working together to rid our communities of illegal prescription drug trafficking." 

Today’s sentence was the culmination of a long-term investigation conducted jointly by the New York State Attorney General's Automobile Insurance Fraud Unit (AIFU) and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), including court-ordered wiretaps on telephones used by defendant Mancusi and co-defendant Daniell.  Co-defendant Daniell’s prosecution as well as the prosecution of the other co-defendants arrested alongside defendant Mancusi remain open and pending.

The Attorney General thanks the following law enforcement partners for their valuable assistance in this case: the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement; the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General; the United States Social Security Administration; the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS); the Richmond County District Attorney's Office; and the New York City Police Department.  The Attorney General also thanks the New York City Human Resources Administration, the Department of Social Services, the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority and American International Group, Inc.

AIFU Assistant Attorneys General Milton Yu and Chin-Ho Cheng, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton and Bureau Chief Gail Heatherly of the Criminal Prosecutions Bureau, prosecuted the case together with MFCU Assistant Attorney General Crystal Barrow and Deputy Regional Director Christopher M. Shaw, under the supervision of Special Deputy Attorney General Monica Hickey-Martin, all under Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. The case was investigated by AIFU Investigator Michael Houlihan and AIFU Legal Analysts Lori Alden and Paul Strocko, under the supervision of AIFU Deputy Chief Leonard D'Alessandro.  Also assigned to the investigation were MFCU Special Investigators Albert Maiorano, James Serra and Robert Flynn and Chief Investigator Thaddeus Fischer.  Overall supervision of the investigation was provided by Deputy Chief John Reidy and Chief Dominick Zarella of the Investigations Bureau.  MFCU Special Auditor-Investigator Kashmir Singh, under the supervision of MFCU New York City Regional Chief Auditor Thomasina Piccolo-Smith, provided audit support and assistance to the investigation and prosecution.  The related asset forfeiture action was handled by Assistant Attorney General Brian Moore.

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