Queens Pharmacist Pleads Guilty to Illegally Distributing Oxycodone and Filing False Tax Returns

www.Justice.gov,   Press Release, February 17, 2023

Daniel E. Russo pleaded guilty today in federal court in Brooklyn to conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute oxycodone, distribution and possession of oxycodone, and nine counts of filing false personal and corporate tax returns.  The proceeding was held before United States District Judge Dora L. Irizarry.   When sentenced, Russo faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment for each of the drug counts and up to three years’ imprisonment for each of the tax counts.

Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Stuart M. Goldberg, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent-in-Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division (DEA), and Thomas Fattorusso, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, New York (IRS-CI), announced the guilty plea.

“Russo was a drug dealer in a white coat,” stated United States Attorney Peace.  “He abused his pharmacy license and the trust placed in him by the community to illegally distribute enormous amounts of oxycodone, spreading misery in the community and fueling addiction, all to enrich himself.  This Office will continue working with federal and local law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute medical professionals who illegally deal dangerous drugs with the same vigor as those who distribute drugs on the street.”

“At the same time Daniel Russo was illegally peddling oxycodone out of his pharmacy, he was pocketing – and not paying taxes on – income from those sales and others in his business,” stated Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg.  “Everyone is required to pay their fair share of taxes, whether they make their money legitimately or through criminal activity.”

“This plea solidifies the fact that Russo blatantly ignored his role as a medical practitioner in order to line his pockets with cash,” stated DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Tarentino.  “Through this illicit scheme, Russo enabled opioid addiction and misuse throughout Queens and Long Island communities. The DEA Long Island District Office-Tactical Diversion Squad, HHS-OIG, IRS, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of New York’s partnership exemplifies how investigations like this successfully arrest and prosecute individuals in positions that threaten public safety.” Continue Press Release