New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced the arrest of a drug trafficker and four associates in a major ring that peddled prescription painkillers obtained through fraud.
Michael Mancusi was arrested along with his girlfriend, Shannon Daniell, for allegedly selling around $84,000 worth of prescription drugs including oxycodone, fentanyl and alprazolam (Xanax).
An investigation launched a year ago found that after two January, 2007 car accidents, Mancusi made claims for no-fault insurance benefits and obtained Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance and Medicare benefits.
He then went "doctor-shopping" to obtain prescriptions to pain medication, which he subsequently sold, Schneiderman's office said.
A joint investigation by the AG's Automobile Insurance Fraud Unit and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit caught Mancusi walking without a cane, lifting a heavy safe, using a leafblower and driving cars while he was under surveillance, contradicting his requests for disability insurance.
"We have shut down a dangerous scheme that dealt illegal prescription drugs at the taxpayers expense," Schneiderman said. "The arrest of this major drug trafficker and his associates will make our streets safer, and sends a message to would-be criminals to think twice before dealing drugs in New York State."
The couple allegedly stockpiled upwards of 5,890 tablets of oxycodone, approximately 1,170 tablets of Xanax, and approximately 205 fentanyl transdermal patches. The drugs sold for anywhere from $5 to $30 per pill or patch, and the OAG investigation found that the drug-dealing duo obtained a cash-counting machine that could count 1,200 bills per minute to track their lucrative trafficking.
Two additional defendants, Nancy Rivera-Daniell and Ryan Leuchau, were charged with lesser felonies and Alixandra Bujka was charged with two misdemeanor counts. Mancusi and Daniell face a maximum of 20 years in prison, while Leuchau faces a maximum of nine years and Rivera-Daniell a maximum of 1 1/2 years.
"Through his criminal scheme, this defendant and his associates victimized both the communities in which he was dealing drugs, and the taxpayers of the entire state who were unwittingly funding his illegal operation," said Staten Island DA Daniel Donovan. "The litany of charges Attorney General Schneiderman has brought against him is an indication of the seriousness of his crimes, and my office will continue to assist in this effort to protect the public."
Also assisting in the case: the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement; the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General; the United states Social Security Administration; the New York State Department of Financial Services; the Richmond County District Attorney's Office; and the New York City Police Department, as well as the New York City Human Resources Administration, Department of Social Services, the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority and American International Group, Inc.