Staten Island Doctor Caught In Undercover Sting For Selling Drug Prescriptions
Attorney General Spitzer today announced that a Staten Island physician has been arrested for selling drug prescriptions for highly addictive medications to an undercover agent, and for telling the agent to lie before a grand jury investigating his medical practice.
Dr. Ramachandran Nair, 57, of 51 Nixon Avenue in Staten Island, was arraigned today on a 26-count indictment in Staten Island Supreme Court before Justice Leonard Rienzi. He was charged with nine counts of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance, one count of Criminal Solicitation in the Fourth Degree, fifteen counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, and one count of Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
Spitzer said, "The defendant flagrantly disregarded the law by using his medical practice as a front to enable individuals to obtain powerful drugs for cash. With no consideration for the health of the buyer, or the medical necessity of the drugs, the defendant acted more like a street corner drug dealer than a medical practitioner."
According to prosecutors, on nine separate occasions between December 1999 and August 2000, Dr. Nair sold prescriptions for Ativan and Xanax, two powerful and highly addictive anti-anxiety medications, to an undercover agent, posing as a recipient, as well as to a Medicaid recipient, both following cursory exams. Two of the prescriptions were written for the agent's "wife," who was not present and, in fact, had never been seen by Dr. Nair. Dr. Nair was paid $50 for each prescription.
It is also charged that when told by the undercover agent that he had been issued a subpoena to testify before a grand jury investigating his medical practice, Dr. Nair requested that the agent perjure himself by testifying that his wife had visited Dr. Nair on two occasions and had been treated by him. To conceal his crimes, Dr. Nair made a false entry in his business records by making up a patient chart for the wife, indicating that she had been examined by him.
Finally, Dr. Nair was charged with defrauding Medicaid by submitting reimbursement claims for patient visits when, in fact, he had either never seen the patient or had already accepted a $50 cash payment from the recipient.
Spitzer thanked the New York State Division of Parole and the New York City Police Department for bringing the matter to his office. He also noted that the matter has been referred to the State Health Department's Office of Professional Medical Conduct for review of Dr. Nair's medical license.
Dr. Nair has offices at 11 Ralph Place in Staten Island, and at 1602 Quentin Road and 481 St. Mark's Avenue, both in Brooklyn. He pleaded not guilty at arraignment and, after surrendering his passport, was released on $25,000 bail. The next court date is June 19.
Special Assistant Attorney General Mark P. Cannon, of the New York City Regional Office of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, is prosecuting the case. All cases are handled under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.
The charges against Dr. Nair are accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.