An East Islip doctor pleaded guilty Thursday to illegal distribution of a highly addictive painkiller to a patient he knew was abusing the drug, federal prosecutors said.
Carmine G. Mandarano, 62, of Northport, admitted issuing an oxycodone prescription to a patient who he knew had received several narcotics prescriptions from other medical professionals, said the U.S. attorney's office for Long Island.
Mandarano's attorney, Joseph Ferrante of Hauppauge, said the doctor pleaded guilty to writing a prescription for 90 oxycodone pills to one patient in 2011.
"He accepted responsibility," Ferrante said. "He pled guilty to one single, bad prescription.
"He's a doctor with a big heart and believed his patient when she said 'I'm in pain and need pain medication,' " he said. "He still 100 percent denies doing it for profit or anything else."
The original felony complaint charged him with writing hundreds of narcotics prescriptions, including "an extremely high number," 308,000, of oxycodone pills between 2010 and 2013.
At the doctor's December arraignment federal officials said he specialized in asthma, allergies, immunology and smoking cessation but had "intentionally" distributed a wide range of controlled substances to patients. Mandarano surrendered his federal license to write prescriptions in December, and his doctor's license expires at the end of the month.
"Medical professionals who hand out prescriptions for narcotics when there is no legitimate medical need to do so are drug dealers, pure and simple," U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. "Doctors who violate their oaths to do no harm, and the law, will continue to be held accountable."Prosecutors said he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine and has agreed to forfeit $150,000.
Ferrante said sentencing guidelines call for 12 to 18 months of incarceration.