STATEN ISLAND DOC BUSTED IN ‘ROID RING
By ALEX GINSBERG
Link to Article
A Staten Island doctor working out of a building he called the “Fountain of Youth” provided hundreds of men with illegal steroid prescriptions, collecting over a half a million dollars in fees and kickbacks, prosecutors charged today.
Among the men osteopath Richard Lucente allegedly provided drugs to were NYPD officers interested in bulking up, sources said.
“Dr. Richard Lucente violated his oath as a physician,” said Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes. “In a very short period of time, Dr. Lucente gainted a reputation as someone who would sell prescriptions for these controlled substances
Lucente pleaded not guilty following his arraignment on charges of writing illegal prescriptions, conspiracy and reckless endangerment. He was released on $20,000 bail.
Also charged were several corporations, including the practice where Lucente allegedly distributed the prescriptions, the New York Anti-Aging and Wellness Center, and Lowen’s Pharmacy, a Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, drug store which allegedly filled the prescriptions.
Prosecutors said Lowen’s kicked back some $30,000 to Lucente in return for the illegal business.
Lucente, 37, a graduate of New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Old Westbury, Long Island, had no comment as he left Brooklyn Supreme Court, accompanied by a throng of supporters.
“He’s saved people’s lives,” said the doctor’s lawyer, John Meringolo. “Now the Kings County DA’s office wants to come in here and trump up these charges. It’s actually absurd what they’ve done here.”
The reckless endagerment charge pertains specifically to a prescription Lucente allegedly wrote to one bodybuilder, Joe Baglio, who’d had a heart transplant. Baglio died of heart failure in March 2007, although prosecutors conceded they could not prove that the steroids caused his death.
The owner of Lowen’s, pharmacist John Rossi, was also a target of the investigation, but shot himself to death last year when it became clear he faced charges.
“His greed – Dr. Lucente’s greed – resulted in the tragic deaths of two people,” said Hynes.