A doctor with a family medical practice in Manhattan may spend the rest of his life being bars after being slapped with a 20-year sentence for prescribing deadly amounts of opioids to patients, one of whom died from an overdose.
Prosecutors announced that Martin Tesher, 83, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for nine counts of unlawful distribution of oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose and one count of unlawful distribution of oxycodone and fentanyl that resulted in the death of a patient.
In addition to his prison term, Tesher has been ordered to pay $3,700 in restitution and forfeit $2,725 in criminal proceeds after he was convicted by a federal jury in July last year following a nearly two-week trial.
Between June 2013 and January 2017, Tesher prescribed oxycodone tablets and fentanyl patches to at least five patients after learning, or believing, that the patients were addicted to drugs.
U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said that none of the patients had verified medical conditions that would require the prescription of the opioids.
While under Tesher’s care, Nicholas Bendetto, 27, of Staten Island tested positive for cocaine, heroin, methadone, oxycodone and fentanyl, Donoghue noted. Despite that, Tesher prescribed oxycodone and fentanyl patches for him. On March 5, 2016, Benedetto was found dead of a fatal combination of oxycodone and fentanyl, two days after he had been prescribed those drugs by Tesher.
“In the midst of an unprecedented opioid epidemic, Dr. Tesher used his medical skills to harm, not heal and in doing so he cost a young man his life,” Donoghue stated. “Such criminal conduct is an utter betrayal of the trust our society places in doctors and it warrants the severe sentence imposed today.”
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan added that “today’s sentence demonstrates how DEA, EDNY and their many law enforcement partners have come full circle to eliminate the threat of rogue doctors, like Tesher who posed a threat to the public health of the citizens of New York City, Staten Island, and beyond. DEA and its law enforcement partners will continue to seek justice for patients like Nicholas Benedetto, as well as the countless other families and friends who have suffered greatly at the hands of this opioid epidemic.”
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