NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An elderly doctor and his office manager wife didn't appear to quite understand the gravity of their situation when they appeared in court Tuesday.
Dr. Rogelio Lucas, 77, and Lydia Lucas, 80, were indicted earlier this month for allegedly turning their Upper West Side medical practice into a massive and lucrative pill mill supplying multiple drug rings with thousands of prescriptions for oxycodone.
Elderly Doctor, Wife Accused In Massive Pill Mill Case Ask Judge For Passports Back
But when the elderly couple appeared in court, they asked to have their passports returned, WCBS 880's Irene Cornell reported. They said they wanted to take a long-planned family vacation to Panama and then to the Philippines.
Judge Bonnie Wittner denied their request.
But when it came time to schedule their next court date, she agreed to push it off until October to allow the Lucases to travel to Philadelphia in late September because they want to see the pope, who is attending the Festival of Families and celebrating Mass there.
Lucas and his wife are each charged with 37 counts of criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy.
Prosecutors say that over a span of 6 1/2 years, Lucas wrote out 23,600 oxycodone prescriptions, with a street value of $77 million, to patients with no medical need for the pills. His wife was arrested for allegedly taking the cash in return for prescriptions, authorities said.
The indictment charges them in connection with 37 alleged illegal prescriptions, but authorities believe Lucas wrote prescriptions to 45 to 50 people per day.
The couple has a West Side apartment and a home in Scarsdale, where investigators seized $600,000 cash, authorities said.
They have pleaded not guilty.
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