A Baldwin Harbor doctor who authorities said was the first physician to stand trial after a crackdown in New York and Long Island on the illegal prescribing of oxycodone was sentenced Tuesday to a decade in prison.
Dr. Leonard Stambler, 63, was found guilty in October of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and possession of the drug. He faced up to 20 years in federal prison.
The jury deliberated for less than four hours after hearing testimony for nine days over three weeks.
In Central Islip federal court Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Joseph Bianco sentenced Stambler to 10 years in prison. Bianco had revoked Stambler’s bail after the verdict.
“Rather than ‘Do No Harm,’ Dr. Stambler acted as a drug dealer, putting thousands of oxycodone pills onto the streets of Long Island for no valid medical reason, even going so far as to drive his patient-friends to a drug deal,” Eastern District U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “This conviction and sentence should serve as a warning to any health care professionals engaged in such conduct that in addition to losing their license to practice medicine, they will face prison for such conduct.”
Stambler’s attorney, Gary Schoer, of Syosset, said at the time of the conviction that his client “was disappointed, but planned an appeal.”
Stambler testified in his own defense at trial, saying he used his best medical judgment and was unaware that his patients were clinically addicted or selling drugs to others.
The only exception to this Stambler said was when he found out one of his patients had stolen one of his prescription blanks and forged a script for oxycodone.
The patient and his girlfriend, another patient, had just had a baby, and begged him not to report the crime to authorities, Stambler said.
“I’m not a policeman . . . I’m a doctor. I have a heart . . . I just couldn’t do it,” Stambler said, in explaining during his testimony why he did not turn the patient in.
Stambler was arrested by a federal Drug Enforcement Administration task force in a heightened federal crackdown since 2011 when David Laffer murdered four people at a Medford pharmacy while stealing painkillers.