SCARSDALE, N.Y. — Drug Enforcement Agents said 77-year old, Dr. Rogelio Lucas, and his 79-year old wife, Lydia, stashed $600,000 in cash in their Scarsdale home, some of the “take” from selling prescriptions for highly-addictive oxycodone pills. But long-time, Scarsdale neighbors who knew the couple from Black Birch Lane said they didn’t present themselves as very rich.
“If you saw them walking around, you would think they were coming from a shelter,” said Dr. Nancy Rosenfeld, a psychologist who lives two doors away. “They weren’t exactly fashion-minded.”
But the couple apparently was rich in other ways.
Husband and wife had a primary residence on the Upper West Side, along with real estate holdings in Florida, Hawaii and the Philippines.
Lucas and his wife are now awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy and criminal sale of controlled substances.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Bridget Brennan, says over the course of six and a half years, Dr. Lucas wrote 23, 600 oxycodone prescriptions—many of them given to “runners” recruited by drug rings.
His wife, the office manager, allegedly collected $120 for every “patient” that came in the door.
The prescriptions would then be filled, and 3.1 million oxycodone painkillers ended up in the hands of dealers, according to Brennan.
“Corrupt doctors who exchange prescriptions for cash have stoked the epidemic of addiction gripping our region,” Brennan noted.
Dr. Lucas was a licensed internist since 1972, and for many years, he treated elderly, Medicaid patients at various clinics on the Upper West Side.
But narcotics agents said in 2009, Lucas’ practice changed radically.
Since January 2, 2009—the indictment charged—76 percent of the prescriptions that Lucas wrote were for oxycodone.
The doctor was averaging 45 to 50 prescriptions a day for the most popular dose of the painkiller, 30 mg.
A woman we met outside 215 West 101 Street, off Broadway, said “everybody knows” about the pill sales.
A shabby looking door in the vestibule of the building led to the Lucas’ medical office, which is now locked up.
DEA Special Agent in Charge, James Hunt, observed “When Dr. Lucas first opened his medical practice on the Upper West Side, residents embraced the thought of having a family doctor in the neighborhood. But when Dr. Lucas’ illegal medical practices pushed resident out of his office, he replaced them with drug traffickers.”
The building where the elderly couple lives six blocks south is much better maintained, with a fancy vestibule and security that kept PIX 11 out.
“Technically, you shouldn’t be in the lobby,” the security guard told us.
Dr. Lucas and his wife have pleaded not guilty, and they put up their Scarsdale home to make bail.
They join the growing list of doctors and pharmacists getting busted, accused of trading their medical oath for cold, hard cash.