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Doctor pleads not guilty to illegally prescribing oxycodone

Queens doctor Gracia Mayard, seen on May 3,

Queens doctor Gracia Mayard, seen on May 3, 2013, was indicted in federal court in Central Islip for selling large quantities of oxycodone on Long Island and in Queens.

A doctor accused of illegally prescribing thousands of oxycodone pills for users on Long Island and in Queens was indicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to distribute the drug and distribution of a controlled substance.

The doctor, Gracia Mayard, 61, who has offices in Forest Hills and at his home in Cambria Heights, pleaded not guilty to the charges at arraignment in U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

Mayard has been held without bail since his arrest in March on drug charges by federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents and Nassau police.

At the time of his arrest, federal prosecutors said that Mayard had made $1.2 million in the past two years by illegally prescribing oxycodone.

Mayard's attorney, Edward Kratt of Manhattan, told U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco that his client was not prepared to offer a bail package Friday, and the judge ordered that Mayard remain in jail.

After the arraignment, the head of the DEA in New York, Brian Crowell, said, "Illegal prescribing is the moneymaking crime of this decade. Dr. Mayard, with no regard to public safety, abused his position as a licensed doctor by prescribing pain medications to 'patients' with no legitimate medical need in exchange for money. It is estimated that Dr. Mayard wrote prescriptions for 10,000 pills of oxycodone per week."

In February, after state records showed that Mayard was prescribing huge amounts of oxycodone, DEA agents went to his Cambria Heights office, according to court papers.

When agents asked Mayard about his prescribing oxycodone, he said, "I know it is a big problem but what happens to the oxycodone after I write the prescription is not my concern . . . it's just like a person that sells guns, he cannot control what happens after he sells a gun," according to the court papers.

The agents also said that what Mayard called his "exam room" had a file cabinet and an "exam table covered with dust and papers."

At that February interview, Mayard agreed to surrender his license to prescribe controlled substances, the court papers said.

But a month later, a pharmacist in Suffolk County called officials saying that a woman had attempted to fill a prescription for oxycodone from Mayard, dated after he had surrendered his narcotics license, court papers said.

In March, when agents returned to arrest Mayard on drug charges, he could not be immediately located, Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Bode said in court.

Bode said at the time that Mayard was found by tracking his cellphone.

Mayard was arrested on a Queens street where a patient he supplied with narcotics was fixing the brakes on Mayard's car, Bode said. The doctor was apparently planning to flee because in the car were clothes, a cooler and bags of food, Bode said.

If convicted, Mayard could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and fined $1 million.

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