Dr. David Brizer accused of selling prescription drugs to dealers
PRESS RELEASE FROM AG’S OFFICE
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a 55-count indictment against Dr. David Brizer on charges he sold prescriptions for oxycodone and other powerful pain medications to drug dealers from his Rockland County and Midtown Manhattan offices.
The indictment also charges Brizer with illegally possessing controlled substances and underreporting his income by at least $500,000 on his New York State personal tax returns in 2010 and 2011.
“Instead of saving lives, Dr. Brizer used his position to supply drug dealers and feed a prescription drug epidemic that is devastating families across our state. The message is clear – whether you are a doctor or a criminal on the street, my office will prosecute those profiting off the cycle of abuse,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “This office will use every tool at our disposal to bring criminal charges against those who line their own pockets by fueling dangerous addictions and illegally trafficking in prescription narcotics.”
The indictment charges that between February 2010 to August 2012, Brizer, 60, of Manhattan, sold prescriptions for oxycodone and other painkillers. Brizer charged his customers up to $300 each time he sold them prescriptions and illegally sold prescriptions for several million dollars worth of pills, the AG’s Office said. The doctor first sold prescriptions out of his Nyack office, at 48 Burd Street. More recently, he sold prescription out of his Manhattan office at 244 West 54th Street.
Brizer failed to report at least $240,000 on his 2010 New York State Personal Income Tax Returns and at least $250,000 on his 2011 returns. Much of that money was proceeds from his prescription sales. Besides writing fraudulent prescriptions for fake patients, the doctor was charged with possessing controlled substances, including for methylphenidate (speed), which authorities claim he obtained by issuing prescriptions in the names of people who had no knowledge he was doing so.
In August 2012, investigators from Attorney General Schneiderman’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the state Department of Health’s Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and the Department of Taxation and Finance executed search warrants at Brizer’s Manhattan offices and residence, at 80 Riverside Boulevard. With backing from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, New York’s MFCU investigators also seized documents belonging to Brizer at a Fort Lee residence where Brizer previously lived.
According to the Attorney General’s indictment, Brizer sold prescriptions to reputed drug dealer Franklin Walker, among other dealers, during a more than two-year period ending in July 2012. Brizer’s prescriptions allowed Walker to obtain as many as 240 oxycodone pills at a time. Walker was arrested in December on drug possession charges and grand larceny for causing Medicaid to pay thousands of dollars to pharmacies for narcotics he illegally obtained and resold. Walker, 52, of Westtown, faces nine years in prison.
In 2012, New York State legislature unanimously passed Attorney General Schneiderman’s Internet System for Tracking Over-Prescribing Act, or I-STOP. I-STOP requires doctors to review a patient’s prescription drug history and update it in real time when writing prescriptions for certain controlled substances. Had such a system been in place at the time Brizer and his associates committed their crimes authorities could have more quickly detected these crimes.
Attorney General Schneiderman thanked the New York State Police; the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement; the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance; the Orange County District Attorney’s Office; the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office; and the Town of Clarkstown Police Department for their assistance in this investigation.
The indictment lodged against Brizer updates and supersedes an earlier indictment charging him with Criminal Tax Fraud and Offering a False Instrument for Filing for failing to fully report his 2011 income on his state tax returns. The charges against the defendant are accusations and Brizer is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The case is being prosecuted by Regional Director Anne Jardine and Special Assistant Attorney General Christopher Borek of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and supervised by Special Deputy Attorney General Monica Hickey-Martin and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan. The investigation was conducted by Special Investigator Michael Mataraza, Special Investigator Timothy Connolly and Special Auditor Investigator Christopher Giacoia, who are supervised by Chief Regional Auditor John Regan, Supervising Special Investigator Paul Greenspan and Chief Investigator Thaddeus Fisher.