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Long IslandCrime

Informant visited alleged pain pill doctor multiple times, feds say

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, left, and NYPD

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, left, and NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill speak in Manhattan on Oct. 11 during a press conference in which Dr. Dante Cubangbang was among five doctors and two other medical professionals charged with distributing millions of oxycodone pills. Credit: Charles Eckert

A Long Island doctor accused last week of running a Queens pill mill that became one of New York’s largest prescribers of painkillers was visited multiple times by a confidential informant and a video bug had been installed in his office, prosecutors disclosed on Wednesday.

The bug inside the office of Dr. Dante Cubangbang, 50, of Franklin Square, was in place for a month, and the informant made “consensual recordings” during visits to Cubangbang’s clinic, prosecutor Michael Krouse revealed at a Manhattan federal court hearing.

“The confidential informant was not asked any questions about pain, but nonetheless received a large prescription for 30-milligram oxycodone pills,” Krouse told U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe.

Cubangbang and three employees at his clinic were charged last Thursday with illegal distribution of opioids through a clinic that allegedly took in $5.7 million in cash over 3 1⁄2 years and was the largest New York prescriber of oxycodone pills tracked by Medicaid and Medicare.

The government did not reveal its evidence at the time, but Krouse told Gardephe that agents had compiled 10 terabytes of digital evidence that included both audio and video of the confidential source’s visits to the clinic.

It also included data from a bug placed in the office that recorded audio for 30 days and video for 15 days and from a “pole camera” installed outside the office that recorded comings and goings at the clinic for four months, Krouse said, as well as medical records and electronic devices seized from the clinic and from Cubangbang’s residence.

Cubangbang’s lawyer said after the hearing that the clinic has not been operating since the charges were laid. He said Cubangbang faces suspension of his license while the criminal charges are pending.

The co-defendants in the case include John Gargan, 62, of Manhattan, a nurse practitioner who also prescribed pills, and employees Michael Kellerman, 54, of Queens, and Loren Piquant, 37, of the Bronx. Gardephe scheduled the next hearing for Dec. 13.

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