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What’s up, doc? A guilty plea deal!

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A physician who worked with a Bay Ridge pharmacist to provide illegal steroids to borough juicers squeezed out a plea arrangement from prosecutors on Friday.

As his trial entered its third week, Dr. Richard Lucente, 38, agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy with the understanding that he will receive five years probation. He will also have to serve 200 hours of community service and give up his medical license, prosecutors said. He’s expected to be sentenced on May 12 in front of Judge Abraham Gerges.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Spanakos said he was pleased with the deal, even though Lucente was facing 30 years in the slammer for prescribing steroids and human growth hormone to scores of people “for no legitimate purpose,” prosecutors said.

“He is a convicted felon,” Spanakos told reporters. “He is not writing prescripti­ons.”

Swarmed by reporters after the plea arrangement was struck, Lucente said that he pleaded guilty to avoid jail and “be with my son.”

It was an anti-climactic end to a saga that had riveted Bay Ridge and Staten Island for years.

Lucente, who saw patients at the New York Anti-Aging and Wellness Center on Staten Island, had a patient list that included 19 police officers and several weightlifters, many from Brooklyn. It also included Staten Island body-builder Joseph Baglio, whose prolonged steroid abuse damaged his heart so badly that he needed a transplant before meeting Lucente.

Baglio died of heart failure in 2007 after Lucente supplied him with a host of testosterone, steroid and human growth hormone prescriptions with full knowledge of his medical history, claiming that the prescriptions were for Baglio’s “testosterone deficiency,” prosecutors said.

Once he wrote the prescriptions, Lucente sent his patients to Lowen’s Drug Store, on Third Avenue between Ovington and Bay Ridge avenues in Bay Ridge. As early as 2004, Lowen’s had marketed itself “as a source for compounded hormones, including testosterone to physicians in Brooklyn and Staten Island,” according to an indictment.

Lowen’s reportedly paid Lucente almost $30,000 in kickbacks between 2005 and 2007 for steering steroid patients its way. He also received $530,000 from the 220 clients to whom he provided steroid prescriptions, according to court papers.

During a prolonged criminal investigation that included at least two raids at Lowen’s, owner John Rossi, 56, took his own life in an office above the pharmacy in January, 2008. Family friends said that the investigation, and the prospect of going to prison, weighed heavily on him.

Criminal charges against Lowen’s were dropped after the suicide, officials said.

Lowen’s is currently under new management. The Rossi family sold the business shortly after the pharmacist’s death.

Attempts to reach John Meringolo, Lucente’s attorney, were unsuccessful. The phone number at the New York Anti-Aging and Wellness Center has been disconnected.

Updated 5:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Pat K from Bay Ridge says:
What about the Mobbed up guy who owns the building- as of 2008. Shame about mr. Rossi, he was well liked.
March 23, 2010, 1:02 pm
Tommy Toma from Bayridge says:
This is Joke. This Doctor should NOT have had this happen to him, All those years of school down the drain.

They should take a hard look at the criminals in WASHINGTON DC
the THUGS that passed This IDIOTIC heathcare bill should be behind bars!!!
March 23, 2010, 2:26 pm
John Caddilac from Canarsie says:
I know this DR. he is hard working and caring. this is some kind of revenge thing. I can't believe a fine young man like This would knowingly do wrong. I Think He WAS SET Up by the
March 23, 2010, 2:30 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
Terribly sad story, but he should not have abused his privillages as doctor.
Both the pharmacy and the doctor should know about the risks of drug/hormone abuse and should have worked to promote the health of these young men, not to pump them full of dangerous chemicals. Not that I in any way believe that this is an isolated case - some more regulation of pharmacueticals should be applied.
March 24, 2010, 5:31 am
lisa guzman from bay ridge says:
i agree with tommy toma
March 25, 2010, 7:52 pm
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
@Tommy Toma
How can you compare offering people health insurance to a doctor who knowingly sold harmful drugs to people who didn't need them and contributed to the death of a young man?
That is a very harsh and inapprpriate thing to do. The reason no one will go after those who passed the healthcare bill is that, unlike this doctor, they have actually not engaged in an illegal activity. You may disagree with what they have done, but it's not criminal, unlike the sale of controlled substances to people who don't actually require them.
March 26, 2010, 4:53 am
hal B from Bay ridge says:
I love the DR. He was RailRoaded.

Just Like Dr. Richard Kimbal. Give the
Dr. Back His Life.
March 26, 2010, 2:04 pm
Tommy Toma from Bay Ridge says:
@ Michael,

All due respect, Your refer to the heathcare bill not being Illegal?

Where in the Constitution Does it Say That the Goverment has the right To FORCE ME to buy A service or product.
And if i don't i have to pay a fine or get Jailed? You don't consider this illegal? and don't compare it to auto
insurance. People who Don't own cars Dont Have to buy Car Insurance. thank you.
March 26, 2010, 2:12 pm
anthony l from great kills says:

Don't believe everything you read.
the dr. is a Great Guy.
March 26, 2010, 2:13 pm
Tommy Toma from Bay Ridge says:
* Hi Michael,

I Would like to know where in the constitution does is state that WE
Must BUY A SERVICE/PRODUCT. If we don't Buy this service/product we will have to pay a fine/jailed.This is ILLEGAL. And don't compare this to auto
insurance, people that do not own cars do NOT have to buy Auto Insurance.

THIS BILL IS ILLEGAL. Welcome To CUBA
March 26, 2010, 2:17 pm
tommy from toma says:
* Hi Michael,

I Would like to know where in the constitution does is state that WE
Must BUY A SERVICE/PRODUCT. If we don't Buy this service/product we will have to pay a fine/jailed.This is ILLEGAL. And don't compare this to auto
insurance, people that do not own cars do NOT have to buy Auto Insurance.

THIS BILL IS ILLEGAL. Welcome To CUBA
March 26, 2010, 2:19 pm
Tommy Toma from Bay Ridge says:
* Hi Michael,
I Would like to know where in the constitution does is state that WE
Must BUY A SERVICE/PRODUCT. If we don't Buy this service/product we will have to pay a fine/jailed.This is ILLEGAL. And don't compare this to auto
insurance, people that do not own cars do NOT have to buy Auto Insurance.
THIS BILL IS ILLEGAL. Welcome To CUBA
March 26, 2010, 2:20 pm
TOMA from Bay Ridge says:
* Hi Michael,
I Would like to know where in the constitution does is state that WE
Must BUY A SERVICE/PRODUCT. If we don't Buy this service/product we will have to pay a fine/jailed.This is ILLEGAL. And don't compare this to auto
insurance, people that do not own cars do NOT have to buy Auto Insurance.
THIS BILL IS ILLEGAL. Welcome To CUBA
March 26, 2010, 2:21 pm
TT from bayridge says:
* Hi Michael,

I Would like to know where in the constitution does is state that WE
Must BUY A SERVICE/PRODUCT. If we don't Buy this service/product we will have to pay a fine/jailed.This is ILLEGAL. And don't compare this to auto
insurance, people that do not own cars do NOT have to buy Auto Insurance.

THIS BILL IS ILLEGAL. Welcome To CUBA
March 26, 2010, 2:22 pm
bob from boro park says:
* Hi Michael,

I Would like to know where in the constitution does is state that WE
Must BUY A SERVICE/PRODUCT. If we don't Buy this service/product we will have to pay a fine/jailed.This is ILLEGAL. And don't compare this to auto
insurance, people that do not own cars do NOT have to buy Auto Insurance.

THIS BILL IS ILLEGAL. Welcome To CUBA
March 26, 2010, 2:24 pm
sean p from brooklyn says:
Testing.
March 27, 2010, 11:35 am
Michael from Bay Ridge says:
@tommy or bob

The government already forces you to buy trash pick-up, public road up-keep, power for street lamps, police service, fire service, and many other "service/products".
I therefore cannot see how this bill is more illegal (on that ground) then any of these other forced services.

Yes, welcome to Cuba, or to England, or to France, or to Scandinavia, or to Canada, or... well to every other civilised country in the entire world.

I respect if you disagree with the bill, but it's not illegal - and I think there are lots of reasons not to like the bill that are valid so I don't see why you are harping on one useless point.
And writting your comment multiple times only looks stupid in my opinion, it doesn't make your argument look stronger.

But good that you are against the health care bill, but totally in favor of a doctor who perscribed steroids to a body building drug addict who dies of an overdose as a result. It must be a very cruel world you live in.
March 28, 2010, 6:21 pm

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