Judge denies bail to Queens doc in illegal pain pill case

Queens doctor Gracia Mayard was indicted in federal Queens doctor Gracia Mayard was indicted in federal court in Central Islip for selling large quantities of oxycodone on LI and in Queens. (May 3, 2013) Photo Credit: John Roca

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A Queens physician, who was arrested on charges of illegally writing prescriptions for thousands of oxycodone pills, was denied bail Wednesday by a federal judge who said he was a flight risk and a danger to the community.

Gracia Mayard, 61, who had offices in Forest Hills and at his home in Cambria Heights, had been arrested by federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents in March, after he had given up his license to prescribe narcotics, officials said. The agents acted after getting a call from a Suffolk pharmacist who said a patient was trying to fill the doctor's prescription for the painkiller, officials said.

At the time of Mayard's arrest, Brian Crowell, head of the DEA in New York, said, "Illegal prescribing is the moneymaking crime of this decade. Dr. Mayard, with no regard to public safety, abused his position as a licensed doctor by prescribing pain medications to 'patients' with no legitimate medical need in exchange for money."

In arguing against releasing Mayard on bail, Eastern District Prosecutor Allen Bode said Mayard made between $1.2 million and $1.8 million in the past two years on the sale of oxycodone prescriptions. He said the government has not yet been able to locate the money, which could be used to help Mayard flee.

Mayard's attorney, Edward Kratt of Manhattan, said his client's wife and other relatives were willing to put up $200,000 in property and retirement funds to support a bond, and that their "moral suasion" would prevent him from fleeing. Kratt also said his client would give up his medical license.

But U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco, in denying a release on bail, noted that previously giving up his narcotics license did not stop Mayard from prescribing oxycodone, and that he was apparently planning to flee when agents initially arrested him.

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Bode said that when agents arrested Mayard, they found he had thousands of dollars in cash, and in his car was luggage, food, a cooler with his medication, and dry cleaning.

If convicted of the charges of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and distribution of the painkiller, Mayard could face up to 20 years in prison.

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