SILIVE news –
Authorities said Michael Paulsen, the owner of Regal Remedies in South Beach, ran a large illegal oxycodone distribution and kickback scheme out of the pharmacy, and unlawfully doled out tens of thousands of pills.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — He wasn’t a licensed pharmacist, yet the owner of a South Beach drug store used his position to illegally peddle tens of thousands of potentially addictive oxycodone pills and line his pockets with cash, said authorities.
Now, comes the payback for Michael Paulsen.
Manhattan federal prosecutors said Paulsen, who owned Regal Remedies on Olympia Boulevard, headed an oxycodone distribution ring between March 2016 and September 2019.
During those three and a half years, the Tottenville resident ordered more than 170,000 oxycodone pills from pharmaceutical suppliers, officials said.
However, Paulsen only dispensed about 62,000 of those pills — slightly more than one-third — with a prescription, an indictment said.
Paulsen doled out “large quantities” of the drug to customers, including co-conspirators, who either didn’t have a prescription, had bogus scripts or had no legitimate medical need for the oxycodone, said the indictment.
In exchange, the defendant, who is in his early 40s, received thousands of dollars, officials said.
Paulsen is not a registered pharmacist and is not authorized to distribute substances such as oxycodone in New York, officials said.
Authorities said Paulsen sold large quantities of the oxycodone to individuals who didn’t have scripts but told him they needed the pills to pay off their mortgages or other debts.
Paulsen kicked back some of that money to customers, said authorities.
Regal Remedies has been shuttered, said defense lawyer Joseph Sorrentino.
Besides narcotics conspiracy, Paulsen was charged with health care fraud and violating the anti-kickback statute.
His plea to narcotics conspiracy satisfies all charges against him.
Paulen’s sentencing guideline range is between 135 and 168 months behind bars, said Sorrentino. That calculates to 11 and a quarter to 14 years in prison.
Sorrentino said the defense will seek a sentence outside the guideline range.
Federal judges are not bound by the sentencing guidelines; they can go above or below them.
In imposing sentence, judges can consider a number of factors, including the nature and circumstances of the offense and the defendant’s history and characteristics, as well as the need for just punishment and to provide adequate deterrence.
“You want to ask the judge to look at the defendant’s background, lack of a criminal record and history of good deeds up to the commission of the crime,” said Sorrentino, referring to the defendant.
The attorney said Paulsen is a first-time offender.
Sentencing is scheduled for June 16.Arrests Drug Trafficking Fraud Healthcare Diversion Interdiction Kickbacks Opioid Crisis Oxycodone Patient Harm Pharmacy Crime Pill Mills Rx Fraud