Meet mom-and-pop Oxy!
A married couple ran one of the biggest illegal prescription pill rings in New York state history out of a pair of Chopin pharmacies they owned in Brooklyn and Queens, flooding the streets with more than 500,000 oxycodone pills over five years since 2010, authorities said Thursday.
Marcin Jakacki, 35, and his wife Lilian Jakacki, 49, owners of Chopin Chemist locations in Greenpoint and Ridgewood, even bought a swanky $2 million Connecticut home with some of the up to $15 million they pocketed with the scam, according to the Manhattan US Attorney.
The couple ended up in handcuffs because they got “greedy,” a DEA head said.
“It’s certainly out of the ordinary when a small pharmacy would sell more than a CVS or a Rite-Aid in the same area,” DEA special agent in charge James Hunt said at presser Thursday, referencing a DEA audit of the Greenpoint pharmacy in 2013 that revealed that it sold 430,000 pills without a prescription.
“When you’re that greedy and that much of a discrepancy shows up, it shows how greedy you are.”
An undercover DEA agent bought 700 pills from the Jakackis in September and October 2015.
“During conversations to arrange the purchases, Jackacki referred to the tablets as ‘candies’ and told [the undercover] that he needed certain information because he wanted to verify that [the undercover was not a DEA agent,” court papers state.
“Lilian Jakacki distributed and directed others to illegally distribute hundreds of thousands of oxycodone pills to individuals based often on fraudulent prescriptions,” court papers state.
“At times, these prescriptions were made out in false names, including the names of famous luxury brands, such as Coach and Chanel.”
By selling so many pills the couple was able to buy a $2 million home in tony Greenwich, Connecticut, according to prosecutors in Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office.
“Pill pay, apparently,” a law-enforcement source quipped.
“The defendants and pharmacies charged today allegedly were part of one the largest opioid painkiller diversion schemes ever uncovered in New York,” Bharara said Thursday.
Authorities also arrested Robert Cybulski, 30, the Jakacki’s biggest buyer, for purchasing at least tens of thousands of the pills from the couple – often 500 pills at a time.
He faces up to 20 years in prison, while Lilian could get up to 85 years and her husband could be behind bars for a maximum of 60 years, prosecutors said.
The trio is expected to be presented in Manhattan federal court Thursday afternoon.
The pills were sold on the street for $30 each, prosecutors said in court papers. It’s unclear how much the Jakackis allegedly charged to buyers like Cybulski.
Federal agents in plainclothes closed the Greenpoint pharmacy on Thursday.
A UPS deliveryman who came to the store Thursday said he assumed he had been unknowingly dropping off pills in his past deliveries.
“I deliver boxes here every day. I never know what’s the in the boxes,” he said.
“That’s crazy — millions of dollars. What am I going to think? I get paid to deliver stuff.”
The Jakacki’s bought their Greenwich home in 2012, according to public records. The house is 5,300 square feet, has 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, and is now worth $2.8 million, according to Zillow.com.
The couple also owns a $250,000 home in Suffolk County, public records state.
Lilian Jakacki was also charged with defrauding Medicare by billing the program for $790,000 in claims for prescriptions that she never bought or dispensed – and then using some of that money to buy more pills to sell illegally, prosecutors said.
The Manhattan US Attorney’s office also launched a civil action against the Jakackis and their pharmacies, seeking repayment for the Medicare funds plus smaller amounts for other violations.