| NEW YORK
NEW YORK The owner of two now-defunct New York
City pharmacies was sentenced to four years in prison on Tuesday
for engaging in what authorities have called one of the largest
opioid painkiller diversion schemes ever uncovered in the city.
Lilian Jakacki, the pharmacies' owner, was sentenced by U.S.
District Judge Jed Rakoff in Manhattan, who cited the nation's
growing opioid drug epidemic as one factor he considered in
imposing the prison term.
"It was a crime carried on for too long at too high of a
level," Rakoff said.
Prosecutors said Jakacki, 50, and her husband, Marcin,
illegally distributed more than 500,000 oxycodone pills. The
heavily-regulated painkiller has enormous cash value to drug
dealers and is abused by over 13 million Americans annually.
Marcin Jakacki pleaded guilty in July in connection with the
case. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Wednesday.
The couple ran the scheme out of two pharmacies in the
boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens called Chopin Chemists, from
2010 to 2015, and illegally distributed pills with a street
value of $10 million to $15 million, prosecutors
During the scheme, Jakacki's small Brooklyn pharmacy from
2010 to 2012 became the leading purchaser of oxycodone tablets
in its zip code, which included two national chain stores,
A 2013 U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration audit of the
pharmacies found that hundreds of thousands of oxycodone tablets
were dispensed without prescriptions, prosecutors said.
Tens of thousands more were distributed based on fraudulent
prescriptions, some of which were made out to the names of
luxury brands like "Chanel" or "Coach," prosecutors said.
Jakacki, a licensed pharmacist, laundered the proceeds
through the purchase of a $2 million home in Greenwich,
Connecticut, prosecutors said. She also used her business to
defraud Medicare out of more than $500,000 through an
overbilling scheme, they said.
Jakacki pleaded guilty in July to charges including
conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, conspiracy to commit health
care fraud and conspiracy to commit money
In court on Tuesday, she apologized for her actions, saying
she realized she made a "terrible mistake" that may have
resulted in her customers being hurt by distributing oxycodone
pills without prescriptions.
"I became part of the problem," she said.