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Staten Island Physician's Assistant Gets 11 Years For Dealing Oxycodone

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A physician's assistant was sentenced to 11 years in prison Tuesday, after admitting to prescribing oxycodone illegally out of the Staten Island clinic where he worked.

Leonard Marchetta, 48, was sentenced by Manhattan U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. He was charged in September 2014 and pleaded guilty in January, prosecutors said.

"Leonard Marchetta was responsible for the illegal distribution of more than 125,000 medically unnecessary oxycodone pills," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a news release. "With his criminal distribution of highly addictive and dangerous drugs, Marchetta helped fuel the prescription pill epidemic plaguing our community."

Prosecutors said Marchett was able to diagnose and treat illnesses and issue prescriptions under doctors' supervision. From at least 2012 until he was arrested, Marchetta was employed by, and oversaw, the day-to-day operations the Staten Island-based clinic that advertised itself as a family medical clinic, prosecutors said.

During a period of about three years, Marchetta prescribed oxycodone to people claiming to be patients, but who had no medical need for the drug, prosecutors said.

His fee for the illegal prescriptions was about $250 in cash for "doctor visits" that lasted only a minute or two and involved no physical exam, prosecutors said. The "doctor visits" consistently involved a prescription for large doses of oxycodone – usually 150 30-milligram tablets, prosecutors said.

Several times, Marchetta issued prescriptions in the names of made-up people, or real people whom Marchetta never saw in exchange for cash, prosecutors said.

In total, he wrote medically unnecessary prescriptions for more than 125,000 30-milligram oxycodone pills over about three years, prosecutors said.

Two others -- Gregory Zaccagnino and William Tagliaferro – pleaded guilty earlier in the same oxycodone scheme, prosecutors said. Zaccagnino was sentenced to six years in prison, while Tagliaferro was awaiting sentencing as of Tuesday.

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