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Long IslandCrime

Sands Point cardiologist pleads guilty to weapons charge

Dr. Anthony Moschetto, cardiologist from Sands Point, leaves

Dr. Anthony Moschetto, cardiologist from Sands Point, leaves Nassau County court in Mineola on Nov. 9, 2015. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Sands Point cardiologist pleaded guilty Tuesday to arson, drug and weapons offenses in a case that followed his arrest in an alleged murder-for-hire plot against a rival doctor.

Anthony Moschetto will get a 5-year prison sentence after his plea to charges of first-degree criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a drug prescription, third-degree arson and conspiracy to commit an assault.

Nassau County Supervising Judge Christopher Quinn gave Moschetto the sentencing commitment while accepting his plea in a Mineola court, saying another man’s acquittal in a related case this year had figured into his decision on the penalty.

Prosecutors had recommended a 12-year prison sentence under the plea.

Moschetto, 56, had faced a minimum of 5 years in prison and up to 25 years in prison on the top count of his 77-count indictment. His plea, which covered the top count, didn’t include any charge connected to the alleged murder-for-hire plot.

Prosecutors have said law enforcement officials discovered a hidden arsenal of weapons at Moschetto’s home during an investigation that they said foiled the murder plot, shut down a pill distribution scheme and stopped illegal weapons trafficking.

Authorities had accused Moschetto of arranging a February 2015 arson at the Great Neck office of Dr. Martin Handler in an attempt to burn it down. The conspiracy charge that Moschetto admitted to related to him paying a co-conspirator to assault Handler.

Moschetto had worked for Handler for years. But authorities said the relationship between the doctors soured due to a professional dispute, and testimony in the related case suggested money was at the heart of it.

Authorities said the probe into Moschetto started after an undercover police investigation involving oxycodone pill buys led to similar purchases of assault weapons. Investigators learned Moschetto gave the items to the seller, and that Moschetto was trying to pay for a fire to be set at Handler’s office, and his murder, partly through the sale of drugs and guns, prosecutors said.

In May, a Nassau jury acquitted Suffolk County man James Kalamaras of any role in setting fire to Handler’s office after prosecutors accused him of involvement in Moschetto’s arson scheme.

Kalamaras was cleared of arson, burglary and criminal mischief charges, with jurors rejecting the testimony of two men who previously pleaded guilty in the case involving Moschetto and became government witnesses.

Moschetto ignored questions as he left court Tuesday, and his attorney, Kevin Keating, declined to comment.

Prosecutors said Moschetto’s medical license would be suspended because of his plea.

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas issued a statement saying that law enforcement officials “were able to stop Moschetto’s sordid ambitions before anyone was killed or injured.”

She called Moschetto “a respected member of his community,” who privately “collected dangerous assault weapons, illegally sold prescription drugs to fund his arsenal, and plotted to murder another cardiologist over a business disagreement.”

Handler didn’t return a message left at his office Tuesday.

The judge set sentencing for Moschetto, who remains free on bond, for Dec. 16.

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