By Tom Momberg
A Connecticut husband-and-wife pharmacy team have been charged in federal court with allegedly illegally distributing more than 500,000 oxycodone pills over the last three years out of their Ridgewood and Brooklyn pharmacies, according to the Manhattan U.S. attorney.
Marcin Jakacki, 35, also known as Martin, and his wife Lilian Jakacki, 49, who also used the surname Wieckowski, along with their alleged accomplice Robert Cybulski, 30, of MW&W Global Enterprises Inc., allegedly sold those pills, which had a street value between $10 million and $15 million, to buyers who did not have a valid prescription, according to a report filed by the U.S. attorney.
The trio was arrested Oct. 28 as a result of collaborative civil and criminal investigations seeking millions of dollars in damages for violations of the Controlled Substances Act and the False Claims Act, the report said.
“As alleged, they flooded the city with over half a million illegally diverted oxycodone pills based on obviously fake prescriptions or no prescription at all, helping fuel the growing crisis of prescription pill abuse,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “Whether it is the corrupt doctor writing unwarranted prescriptions, the greedy pharmacist selling pills based on fake or no prescriptions or the street-level drug dealer peddling painkillers directly to the addicted, we must confront this escalating epidemic at every level. Our actions today show that we and our law enforcement partners are committed to doing just that.”
The husband-and-wife pair are facing additional charges of money laundering of the proceeds from their alleged illegal operation, according to the U.S. Attorney.
Cybulski is facing a charge of conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute illegal narcotics and faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, according to the Manhattan prosecutor.
Marcin Jakacki faces up to 20 years in prison for each one of his alleged charges.
Three additional felony charges are pending against Lilian Jakacki for conspiracy to misbranded prescription drugs, for allegedly defrauding Medicare out of more than $750,000, and for purchasing prescription medications from the black market at deep discount prices and reselling them from her pharmacies, according to the U.S. Attorney.
Each of her five pending charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, except for conspiracy to misbranded medication, for which the maximum penalty is five years in prison, the report said.
Fraudulent prescriptions on record at the stores were made out to luxury product brands like “Coach” and “Chanel,” the U.S. Attorney said.
The husband and wife team also managed to purchase luxury cars and a $2 million home in Greenwich, Conn. with their laundered money, according to the report.
The couple allegedly sold the drugs from their pharmacy, Chopin Chemists, the U.S. Attorney said.
As the criminal case mounted against the Brooklyn pharmacy, Lilian Jakacki started to operate primarily from the second store in Ridgewood, 66-19 Fresh Pond Road, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, which audited the stores in 2013.
The Jakackis are each facing charges of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. The husband-and-wife pair are facing additional charges of money laundering of the proceeds from their alleged illegal operation, according to the U.S. Attorney.
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb