Pharmacist Sentenced To 25 Years For Scheme To Distribute Prescription Drugs

NEWARK – Vincent Hsia, a pharmacist and the former proprietor of Lincoln Pharmacy Network, located in Edison, was sentenced Thurssday to 300 months in prison for conspiring to distribute oxycodone and filing false personal and corporate tax returns, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Hsia, 52, of Flemington, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Susan D. Wigenton to his role in distributing hundreds of thousands of doses of the Schedule II controlled substance for no legitimate medical purpose. He admitted filing false tax returns for tax years 2008 and 2009 and admitted that approximately $600,000 in currency seized by law enforcement at the time of his arrest was derived from the conspiracy. Wigenton imposed the sentence on Feb. 23 in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court: Hsia admitted that he and at least eight co-conspirators participated in a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone between Oct. 4, 2007, and April 2, 2010. Hsia admitted he knowingly and intentionally filled fraudulent prescriptions for oxycodone completed in the names of fictitious patients, which he knew were written for no legitimate medical purpose and beyond the bounds of medical practice.

The oxycodone conspiracy which Hsia admitted not only extended for years, but also was extensive in terms of the quantity of oxycodone distributed. Data obtained from the Automation of Reports and Consolidated System (“ARCOS”), through which manufacturers and distributors report sales of controlled substances, shows that in 2007 Lincoln Pharmacy’s purchases of oxycodone products totaled approximately 130,000 dosage units. In 2008, it purchased approximately 218,000 dosage units of oxycodone, and in 2009, nearly 480,000 dosage units. That number dwarfed the average of 101,514 dosage units purchased in 2009 by 171 pharmacies in Middlesex County, where Lincoln Pharmacy is located. Statewide, 1,966 pharmacies purchased an average of 76,617 dosages in 2009; the nationwide average was 62,927 dosage units in 2009 by 60,968 pharmacies.

Hsia further admitted he participated in the conspiracy in exchange for cash and that the approximately $600,000 in U.S. currency seized by law enforcement at the time of his arrest represented property constituting, or derived from, the conspiracy to distribute oxycodone. Hsia admitted that he willfully subscribed false individual tax returns and corporate tax returns on behalf of Lincoln Pharmacy for tax years 2008 and 2009. Hsia said those returns were materially false in that they failed to report the true amount of cash Hsia made from the oxycodone distribution conspiracy during tax years 2008 and 2009.

In addition to the prison term, Wigenton sentenced Hsia to three years supervised release and fined him $250,000.

Fishman credited special agents of the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell; special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward; special agents with the IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge JoAnn Zuniga; the Newark, Elizabeth, and Nutley, N.J., police departments; and the Essex County Prosecutor’s and Sheriff’s Offices for the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

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