Earlier today, in federal court in Central Islip, Tameshwar Ammar, a former medical doctor in Roslyn, New York, pleaded guilty via teleconference to conspiring to illegally distribute oxycodone. Ammar was indicted in November 2019. On June 22, 2020, he relinquished his license to practice medicine. Today’s plea was entered before United States District Judge Denis R. Hurley. As part of his plea, Ammar agreed to forfeit approximately $245,700 as proceeds involved in the oxycodone offense. When sentenced, Ammar faces up to 20 years in prison.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Ray Donovan, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division (DEA), announced the guilty plea.
As set forth in the indictment and other court filings, between 2013 and 2019, Ammar illegally prescribed thousands of highly addictive oxycodone pills to two individuals identified in the indictment as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2. According to a review of Ammar’s medical files for the two individuals, Ammar wrote the prescriptions without any diagnostic proof that either had a legitimate medical necessity. Ammar prescribed oxycodone pills to John Doe 1, knowing that he intended to sell the pills to others. In addition, after learning that John Doe 2 had been admitted to a psychiatric facility in March 2018, Ammar continued to prescribe John Doe 2 with oxycodone as well as methadone. In July 2019, John Doe 2 died of a drug overdose caused by oxycodone, methadone and ketamine. After his arrest on November 7, 2019, Ammar was ordered by the Court to surrender his DEA registration.
“Today’s guilty plea establishes that the defendant, who was a doctor, essentially acted as a drug dealer, spreading injury and addiction without regard for the consequences,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “This Office and our partners at the DEA are working tirelessly to combat the opioid epidemic on Long Island and elsewhere, including by prosecuting medical professionals who betray their oath to do no harm.” Mr. DuCharme also thanked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, New York Region, for their assistance during the investigation.
“Dr. Ammar’s plea shows us that his motivation was greed, not the welfare and health of his patients. Instead of healing, he chose a dangerous path of causing addiction, overdose, and overwhelming suffering to many. I commend the DEA Long Island Tactical Diversion Squad, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York and our law enforcement partners for pursuing the investigation and prosecution with diligence and determination,” stated DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Donovan.
The government’s investigation was led by the DEA’s Long Island Tactical Diversion Squad, comprising agents and officers of the DEA, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD), Suffolk County Police Department, Port Washington Police Department and Rockville Centre Police Department. The DEA Tactical Diversion Squad also worked in conjunction with officers and agents of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of the Inspector General and the Hempstead Police Department.
This case is the latest in a series of federal prosecutions by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York as part of the Prescription Drug Initiative. In January 2012, this Office and the DEA, in conjunction with the five District Attorneys in this district, the Nassau and Suffolk County Police Departments, the New York City Police Department, the New York State Police and other key federal, state and local government partners launched the Initiative to mount a comprehensive response to what the United States Department of Health and Human Services Center for Disease Control and Preventions called an epidemic increase in the abuse of so-called opioid analgesics. To date, the Initiative has brought over 160 federal and local criminal prosecutions, including the prosecution of over 20 health care professionals; taken civil enforcement actions against a hospital, a pharmacy and pharmacy chain; removed prescription authority from numerous rogue doctors and expanded information-sharing among enforcement agencies to better target and pursue drug traffickers. The Initiative also is involved in an extensive community outreach program to address the abuse of pharmaceuticals.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorneys Bradley T. King and Madeline O’Connor are in charge of the prosecution.
Amityville, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 19-CR-516 (DRH)