Attorney General Cuomo Announces Amagansett Doctor Sentenced To Prison For Writing Illegal Prescriptions To Medicaid Recipients

HAUPPAUGE, NY (October 1, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Michael Chait, M.D., an Amagansett physician charged in 2007 with writing hundreds of illegal prescriptions for patients from the Bronx and Manhattan, was sentenced to 3 years in prison followed by 5 years of post-release supervision.

On April 3, 2009, Chait, 48, pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, Conspiracy in the Second Degree, and Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, all felonies. Since his arrest, Chait has been held in the Suffolk County Correctional Center on $500,000 bail. He was sentenced today before Suffolk County Court Judge C. Randall Hinrichs. Chait previously surrendered his license to practice medicine.

“This scheme to provide black-market pharmaceuticals was not only incredibly dangerous and irresponsible, it was an outrageous fleecing of the taxpayer-funded Medicaid program,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “This doctor violated his oath and the law by trading medical ethics for financial gain at great peril to his patients.”

An investigation conducted by the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and various city, state, and federal agencies found that Chait wrote unnecessary prescriptions that put huge quantities of highly addictive and dangerous painkillers - including OxyContin, an opium derivative, and Dilaudid - worth millions of dollars on the black market.

Between January 1 and March 16, 2007, Chait sold the narcotic prescriptions to Medicaid recipients - up to 50 patients per day - who were taken from New York City to his practice in the Town of East Hampton on the eastern end of Long Island. Once purchased, patients would use their Medicaid cards to obtain the medications from New York City pharmacies, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in medically unnecessary Medicaid billings.

The case was prosecuted by Robert J. Goldstein and Gilbert Epstein of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was assisted in this investigation by the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City, the New York State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug Diversion Unit, New York City’s Human Resources Administration’s Bureau of Fraud Investigations, Suffolk County’s East End Drug Task Force, and the East Hampton Town Police Department.

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