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Cambria Heights doctor charged in pill sale scam

By Rich Bockmann

Federal prosecutors charged a Cambria Heights doctor with pushing powerful and addictive painkillers in exchange for cash, according to an indictment unsealed earlier this week.

Gracia Mayard, 61, was charged with writing thousands of prescriptions for oxycodone during the first nine months of 2012 without doing his due diligence to meaningfully examine patients, according an indictment filed by Loretta Lynch, the U.S. attorney for New York’s Eastern District.

Authorities from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency said that during that time period Mayard allegedly wrote 2,953 oxycodone prescriptions for more than 375,000 pills without even meeting his patients.

When the agency contacted Mayard at his home/office in Cambria Heights in February about his prescription activity, the doctor tried to avoid agents and eventually showed them to an “exam room” that had a “file cabinet and exam table covered in dust and papers,” according to the indictment.

Mayard voluntarily turned in his DEA registration authorizing him to write prescriptions, but the feds said he allegedly continued to dole out orders for the highly addictive pain killers.

In March, DEA agents were listening in when a pharmacist called Mayard about a prescription, which the doctor allegedly confirmed he had written using his surrendered DEA registration number, according to Lynch.

Lynch, who filed the charges against Mayard, said said her office early last year formed a partnership with federal and local authorities to mount a coordinated attack on oxycodone addiction, which she said has reached epidemic proportions.

“Overdose deaths from prescription painkillers are now more frequent than those from heroin and cocaine combined — this is an epidemic,” Lynch said. “The defendant looked at this epidemic and saw opportunity — not to save lives and heal suffering, but for personal profit. Rather than follow his oath to ‘do no harm,’ Mayard prescribed hundreds of thousands of highly addictive pills with complete disregard for where they would end up or who would take them.”

Mayard was charged with conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and distribution of a controlled substance. He faces up to 20 years in jail and a $1 million fine if convicted, Lynch said.

The U.S. attorney credited her prescription-drug initiative with bringing more than 120 prosecutions, removing prescription authorities for rogue doctors, bringing civil actions against pharmacies and expanding information-sharing among law enforcement agencies.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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