A Massapequa dentist and an Oyster Bay town worker pleaded not guilty Friday to a 136-count indictment of selling prescription opioids.
Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said Dr. Jason DiBlasi, 49, of Farmingdale was charged with 113 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance by a practitioner. He is accused of providing more than 100 opioid oxycodone prescriptions through an intermediary to people who were not patients and whom he did not examine or meet.
Marco Cotto, 52, of Farmingdale is accused of inviting people into the scheme and then providing their personal information, insurance and pharmacy preferences to DiBlasi. Prosecutors said that when the prescriptions were ready, the people getting the drugs paid Cotto $150 to $200 or a portion of the pills.
Cotto then gave DiBlasi between $50 to $100 per prescription, totaling $5,000 from May 2017 to April 2021, prosecutors said.
Cotto was charged with 63 counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance and 23 counts of criminal diversion of prescription medication and prescriptions.
If convicted, both men could face 5½ years in prison.
District attorney's office detectives became aware of DiBlasi's prescribing patterns during an investigation of a fatal overdose, according to a news release issued by the office Friday.
Neither DiBlasi nor Cotto were charged in the overdose death.
“In a case of clear disregard for medical integrity, Dr. DiBlasi with the assistance of another, allegedly distributed oxycodone to not only individuals that he didn’t treat as patients, but also to total strangers,” federal Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III said in a statement. “In the midst of the opioid crisis with the highest number of American poisoning deaths ever recorded, this supposed medical professional undoubtedly put lives at risk.”
DiBlasi has been licensed with the State of New York since November 2006 and the state database shows his license active through the end of next year. He operates an office at 690 Broadway in Massapequa. Prosecutors said he surrendered to investigators Friday and turned over his DEA license to issue prescriptions.
Following his arraignment, DiBlasi was released while awaiting his next court date. His attorney, Marc Gann, said he denied the charges.
“I think the charges have been exaggerated to say the least,” Gann said. “Dr. DiBlasi is a well-respected practitioner and family man in the Massapequa area and has been devoted to his patients and community for many years.”
Cotto's attorney could not immediately be reached.
District attorney investigators and the DEA interviewed dozens of people who received prescriptions for oxycodone and hydrocodone/acetaminophen. Those interviewed said they were not patients of DiBlasi and in some cases never met or spoke to him, prosecutors said.
Cotto was arrested Thursday at his home in Farmingdale. He is a sanitation worker for the Town of Oyster Bay, who has been assigned to the parks department due to an injury for the past two years, town officials said.
“The Town of Oyster Bay has a zero-tolerance policy for wrongdoing and stands ready to assist the District Attorney’s Office with its investigation,” town officials said in a statement. “The Town Attorney is exploring all disciplinary options available under the law to address this matter.”