A Staten Island doctor committed gross medical malpractice by illegally prescribing massive quantities of oxicodone pills and asking some of his patients for sexual favors in return. 65 year old Joseph Santiamo, a geriatric care physician whose New York State License was recently suspended, pleaded guilty in front of New Jersey US District Judge Michael A. Shipp to illegally prescribing more than 65,000 pills to 7 patients and to solicit sex in exchange for prescriptions from most of them. Two patients were prescribed a total of 14,000 pills and another one was prescribed 9,000 pills.
“Even more egregiously, (he) solicited sexual favors from certain patients who were struggling with substance abuse in exchange for writing them additional opioid prescriptions,” said New Jersey U.S. Attorney Craig Carpentito. “Instead of getting help from their doctor, they were drawn deeper into the cycle of drug abuse.”
Santiamo was arrested during a major law enforcement sweep in the North East during which 54 people were busted including 15 doctors. The doctor was “treating patients” who lived in New Jersey, Upstate New York, Pennsylvania and Florida. While the doctor was supposedly a geriatric specialist, his patients were all younger than 40 years old. The doctor admitted that he solicited at least 5 of them for sexual favors. From January 1 2012 to May 3rd 2018, the “patients” would visit the doctor in his office and have sexual encounters with him in his office in exchange for oxycodone prescriptions. When he was asked by investigators how the sexual relationships started, the doctor replied “They had a need”.
Joseph Santiamo who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone is now facing a $1 million fine and up tp 20 years in prison. He might also have to forfeit all property and profit derived from his crimes. He is expected to appear again in front of the Court on April 12 2021.
Read more in the NY Daily News