Pill-pushing doctor from Manhattan admits to $2.5 million opioid scheme

Macro of oxycodone opioid tablets with prescription bottles against dark background
Oxycodone pills (Photo via Getty Images)

Potentially facing a 20-year prison sentence, a licensed doctor from Manhattan pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally distributing painkillers to patients out of his Queens clinics.

Dr. Emmanuel Lambrakis, 72, pleaded guilty on Nov. 26 to a charge of conspiring to unlawfully distribute medically unnecessary oxycodone, according to U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman.

According to Berman, Lambrakis had initially pleaded guilty back in March 2018, but later withdrew it before changing his mind again Tuesday and admitting his guilt. Lambrakis’ plea came less than a week before his criminal trial was set to begin.

Prosecutors said that Lambrakis wrote numerous, unnecessary prescriptions for large quantities of oxycodone to patients in exchange for cash payments of between $150 and $250 cash. He distributed the prescriptions out of his Queens offices on 31st Street in Astoria and Hillside Avenue in Jamaica.

Lambrakis set up phony “patient visits” for his drug-hungry clients, authorities said, performing simple manipulations such as rotating a patient’s arm or leg and engaging in little to no conversation. At the conclusion of each visit, Lambrakis provided the “patients” with prescriptions for 120, 30-milligram oxycodone tablets.

Between January 2011 and December 2016, federal prosecutors said, Lambrakis wrote thousands of oxycodone prescriptions, illegally distributing more than two million tablets and collecting more than $2 million in fees from his “patient visits.” 

The highly-addictive opioid has a lucrative street value, with some 30-milligram tablets going for $20 to $40 per tablet. 

Lambrakis is due back in federal court on Feb. 7 for sentencing. Berman noted that the final terms of Lambrakis’ sentence will be set by the judge.