A former doctor from Amityville pleaded guilty Monday to illegally prescribing thousands of highly addictive pain pills for approximately six years to two people, according to officials.
Tameshwar Ammar, 52, admitted in a telephonic conference at the federal court in Central Islip to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 20,000 oxycodone tablets between 2013 and 2019.
"I prescribed oxycodone to two patients … for no medical purpose … voluntarily and in exchange for money and steroids," Ammar, who practiced as an anesthesiologist in West Islip and Roslyn, told U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley before entering his plea.
Ammar surrendered his medical license in June, officials said.
The two patients who were prescribed the oxycodone illegally were identified in court records only as John Doe 1 and John Doe 2.
Eastern District Assistant U.S. Attorney Bradley King has said Ammar knew John Doe 1 was a drug dealer who supplied the then-doctor with both steroids and cocaine in return for oxycodone.
John Doe 2 was a patient who Ammar knew “had a history” of doctor shopping, addiction, a suicide attempt and psychiatric issues, according to court papers.
Officials have said that John Doe 2 died of an overdose of oxycodone, methadone and ketamine two weeks after Ammar gave him his last oxycodone prescription. Ammar was not charged in the death of John Doe 2.
Ammar waived his right to have his plea taken in person in a courtroom because of potential delays in that procedure due to the coronavirus pandemic. He wished to be sentenced as soon as possible in order to begin a prison drug treatment program, officials said.
“Today’s guilty plea establishes that the defendant, who was a doctor, essentially acted as a drug dealer, spreading injury and addiction without regard for the consequences,” Acting Eastern District U.S. Attorney Seth DuCharme said in a statement after the plea. “This Office and our partners at the DEA are working tirelessly to combat the opioid epidemic on Long Island and elsewhere, including by prosecuting medical professionals who betray their oath to do no harm.”
Ammar’s attorney, John Carman, of Garden City, said in a statement, afterward: “Dr. Ammar was a talented and respected physician who helped many people during a distinguished career. Today’s plea marks the tragic and premature end of his ability to help others as a doctor.”
While Ammar theoretically faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced, he has no right to appeal if he gets a sentence of 97 months or less under a plea deal. Ammar also has agreed to forfeit the $245,000 that he received as part of the illegal distribution of the oxycodone, officials said.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m.