Vincent Esposito, a local doctor and Madison councilman, was arrested Thursday for alleged prescription drug fraud.
The arrest was made by officers from the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after both agencies executed a search warrant of his Madison office at 322 Main St.
In a statement released Friday by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, officers from the Madison Police Department and the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office helped with the arrest.
Esposito, 54, was charged with distribution of a controlled dangerous substance and conspiracy, both second-degree charges.
The DEA and the Division of Criminal Justice Gangs and Organized Crime Bureau had been investigating Esposito for a year on allegations that he was selling prescriptions of OxyContin and other forms of oxycodone to people he did not treat or examine, authorities said.
The statement alleges that Esposito wrote prescriptions for undercover agents and confidential informants "on at least eight occassions."
“In the case of the confidential informants, Esposito wrote prescriptions for 120 pills of 30 milligrams," the release said. "Thirty milligrams is considered a high dose of the potent narcotic painkiller. He allegedly provided the undercover agents with prescriptions for 30 or 60 pills of 30 milligrams.
“Esposito also allegedly provided individuals who visited his office with oxycodone prescriptions written for other individuals who never visited the office. It is alleged that Esposito typically charged $90 to write an oxycodone prescription for 120 pills of 30 milligrams.”
Madison Borough Attorney Joe Mezzacca said the doctor was taken to Newark for processing after his arrest on Thursday. He posted bail, he added.
Mezzacca couldn’t say what this arrest would mean to Esposito, who is a Republican councilman, serving a second term.
“I cannot answer that,” Mezzacca said. “Certainly, it’s not a good thing.”
Robert Wickham, a pharmacist working at the Bottle Hill Pharmacy in downtown Madison, told Patch that the DEA had been in his store on Thursday for an audit. It was unannounced, he said and did not tie the pharmacy into the Esposito arrest.
“They ask questions, get their information and leave,” Wickham said.
Messages for Esposito were not immediately returned.
“This is an educated medical professional, who violated his oath to his patients, despite all the public awareness campaigns in New Jersey identifying the dangers of diverted pain medicine and the harm and pain they cause in our communities," said R. Crowell, special agent in charge of the DEA New Jersey Division.
"The defendant is a prime example of the problems fueling our drug threat in the region, and we are relieved he is out of business.”
Second-degree crimes carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000, the statement said.
Esposito surrendered his federal registration to write prescriptions for controlled dangerous substances, the statement said.
According to the statement, Thomas R. Calcagni, director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, issued an emergent order immediately suspending Esposito’s New Jersey CDS registration.
“Because the danger of indiscriminate prescribing of highly addictive narcotics is so inimical to the public health and safety, I have taken this extraordinary step to ensure that Dr. Esposito will do no further harm to the people of the state of New Jersey," Calcagni said.
According to the statement, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners will consider additional action concerning Esposito’s state medical license.