Doctor Who Wrote Hundreds Of Illegal Prescriptions To Medicaid Recipients Indicted On Multiple Charges

March 28, 2007 – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Michael Chait, M.D., the Amagansett physician charged earlier this month with writing hundreds of illegal prescriptions for patients from the Bronx and Manhattan, was indicted on multiple charges in County Court of Suffolk County.

Chait, 46, was arraigned in Riverhead before Judge James C. Hudson and entered a plea of not guilty to all charges. Judge Hudson continued the bail of $500,000 originally set by the East Hampton Town Justice Court on March 14. In addition to the charges filed in the original felony complaint, the grand jury charged Chait with one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree – a Class A felony carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“Instead of using his position to heal, this doctor dealt drugs and ripped off the taxpayers,” Attorney General Cuomo said. “Chait’s crimes were so brazen that he had a reputation as source for dangerous narcotics among Medicaid recipients from Montauk to Manhattan. His actions were dangerous and deceitful, and he will face justice for his crimes.”

An investigation being 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 driven from New York City to his practice in the Town of East Hampton on the eastern end of Long Island. Once purchased, patients would return and 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.

"This case illustrates the strong commitment on the part of the Department of Health’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement to work closely with other law enforcement agencies to halt the flow of controlled substances for illegal sale. We intend to continue our aggressive efforts to ensure that medical providers adhere to the highest professional standards,” said James Giglio, Director of the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement:

In addition to the life-sentence-carrying charge of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, Chait is facing the following charges: Conspiracy in the Second Degree (class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison); Criminal Facilitation in the second degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree and eight counts of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance (both class C felonies punishable by up to 15 years in prison).

Attorney General Cuomo thanked Bridgette Brennan, Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City, James Giglio, Director of the New York State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, James Gilbride of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug Diversion Unit and Sandra Cosme-Satina, Deputy Director of New York City’s Human Resources Administration’s Bureau of Fraud Investigations for their collaboration in the ongoing investigation. The March 14 arrest was assisted by Suffolk County’s East End Drug Task Force and the East Hampton Town Police Department.

The case is being prosecuted by Robert J. Goldstein and Section Chief Monica J. Hickey-Martin of the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Chait is being represented by Attorney Ronald Bekoff.

The charges against the defendant are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.