A doctor dubbed a “drug dealer in a white coat” by prosecutors was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail for criminally selling opioid prescriptions from his Hauppauge office.
Dr. Kurt Silverstein, 55, who was convicted after trial in January, had faced a sentence as long as 15 years. He had “routinely” left his office to travel or play ice hockey while his receptionist signed his name to prescriptions for controlled drugs, the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
The receptionist also wrote up computerized medical records for patients who got the prescriptions after paying as much as $125 in cash for an “office visit,” Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said.
Silverstein, a Riverhead resident and doctor of osteopathic medicine, was convicted of the unauthorized practice of medicine, falsifying business records and criminal sale of a prescription, Schneiderman said.
“Kurt Silverstein put money ahead of the health and well-being of his patients — serving as a drug dealer in a white coat,” Schneiderman said.
Saying Silverstein had “helped fuel” the opioid epidemic, Schneiderman added: “Doctors should be on the front lines protecting their patients as we continue to combat the scourge of opioid addiction.”
The controlled drugs Silverstein sold by delegating through his receptionist — in 2009 and 2011 — included Xanax, Norco (hydrocodone with acetaminophen), Suboxone, Adderall and Clonazepam, Schneiderman said.
The receptionist, whose cooperation with prosecutors included testifying at trial, was not prosecuted, a Schneiderman spokesman said.
After his conviction, the Drug Enforcement Administration revoked Silverstein’s license, preventing him from writing prescriptions for controlled substances, Schneiderman said.
Judge Timothy P. Mazzei of the Suffolk County Court, who presided over the jury trial, imposed Silverstein’s sentence, which he will serve at the Suffolk County jail.