NY doctor prescribes opioids in return for sexual favors

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • Dr Joseph Santiamo of Staten Island has admitted to authorities that he has been illegally prescribing powerful drugs in exchange for sexual favors.
  • He faces up to 20 years in prison alongside a $1 million fine.
  • His lawyer, Joe Tacapina stated his client is a good man despite the mistakes he made.

Federal authorities reported that Joseph Santiamo, a 65-year-old Staten Island doctor, admitted to asking sexual favors from his young patients for him to prescribe them some potent narcotics. In a video hearing with the US District Judge Michael Shipp, Santiamo was caught in a conspiracy of distributing oxycodone.

According to court papers, investigations began in 2017 when the DEA learned of some patients travelling a great distance to acquire powerful drug prescriptions and used different pharmacies to get them.

With a focus on senior care and internal medicine, the shoddy doctor ran his practice from 2012 to 2018 alongside his additional business of selling prescription drugs. According to a New Jersey federal complaint, the illegal exchange was for cash. 

However, he took particular interest in his younger patients who struggled with drug abuse and other substances. According to officials, the sleazy Staten Island doctor then prescribed them powerful narcotics in exchange for sexual favors. 

Furthermore, the complaint stated, “Santiamo wrote prescriptions for controlled substances in doses that far exceed what might be medically necessary for an ordinary patient.”

New Jersey US Attorney Craig Carpenito said that “Many of these patients were dealing with pain and addiction, and instead of getting help from their doctor, they were drawn deeper into the cycle of drug abuse.” 

Prosecutors added that “the patients were all under the age of 40 and wouldn’t normally be treated by a geriatric care physician.”

Court records reveal that Santiamo is currently free on a $250,000 bond, but his scheduled sentencing is on April 12, 2021. He is facing a $1 million fine and up to 20 years in prison.

Joe Tacapina, Santiamo’s attorney, stated, “Dr Santiamo’s lack of judgment was not motivated by greed. He accepted responsibility for his conduct, and that conduct doesn’t define who he is: a kind and caring man who devoted his life to improving the welfare of others.”

However, DEA Special Agent in Charge Susan Gibson says, “This defendant not only violated his oath to help people, he took advantage of them when they were most vulnerable for his own selfish needs.” She then added, “The only difference between him and a person who deals drugs on the street is the white lab coat he wears.”

Source: New York Post

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