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Local doctor faces prison time for phony prescriptions

August 7, 2019 05:13 pm

ALBANY — A local physician faces up to 20 years behind bars for illegal distribution of opioids, health care fraud and obstruction of justice, state officials said Tuesday.

Myra Mabry, 50, of Catskill, pleaded guilty Monday to the charges before U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino.

Mabry also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, for which she faces a mandatory two-term sentence, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. Mabry committed the offenses between 2015 and 2017, according to the DEA.

Mabry is an obstetrician-gynecologist and had been employed by Greene County Family Planning.

Mabry has not worked for Greene County in a few years, County Administrator Shaun Groden said Wednesday.

“I believe her contract expired in late 2015 or early 2016,” he said.

In her guilty plea, Mabry elaborated on the illegal activity, the DEA said.

“She wrote numerous prescriptions for oxycodone, morphine and hydromorphone to third parties, for no legitimate medical purpose, and then instructed a co-conspirator to fill those prescriptions by impersonating the named patients at pharmacies, knowing that health care benefit programs would pay the cost of the drugs,” the DEA said.

Mabry wrote prescriptions for opioids as part of a scheme with her girlfriend, a former heroin addict, the DEA said. Mabry issued 51 prescriptions for oxycodone between May 20, 2015 and Jan. 30, 2017.

The prescriptions were filled by pharmacies at the Price Chopper pharmacy in Catskill under the names of Mabry’s patients, the DEA said.

Mabry also admitted to attempting to obstruct the investigation, according to the DEA. Mabry took part in the scheme with her girlfriend, whom Mabry convinced to lie to a federal grand jury as part of a cover-up so Mabry would not lose her medical license, according to court papers.

“[She instructed] a co-conspirator to falsely testify before a federal grand jury that she (Mabry) was the subject of extortion,” according to the DEA. “As Mabry admitted in her guilty plea, she was not the subject of an extortionate scheme, and was a willing member of the conspiracy to distribute opioids for no legitimate medical purpose. Mabry further admitted that she had agreed to pay her co-conspirator for false testimony in the hope of minimizing her criminal exposure and keeping her medical license.”

Mabry told her girlfriend to tell the grand jury that she was blackmailing Mabry by threatening to expose their romantic relationship to Mabry’s husband and employer if she did not provide her with prescriptions for the controlled substances. Mabry would pay her for the false testimony, according to court documents.

The defendant’s girlfriend, who was not named, took a deal in exchange for her testimony against Mabry, according to court documents.

In a call between Mabry and her girlfriend recorded by DEA agents, Mabry admitted to hatching the plan to try to fool the grand jury, according to court papers.

Mabry will be sentenced on Dec. 4 in Albany.

No actions were filed against Mabry’s medical license Wednesday, an official with the public information office of the state Office of the Professions said.

The case is under investigation by the DEA, with assistance from the state Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Wayne A. Myers.

To reach reporter Amanda Purcell, call 518-828-1616 ext. 2500, or send an email to apurcell@thedailymail.net, or tweet to @amandajpurcell.

Comments
This story seems extremely stilted and one sided.

We have had a massive opioid abuse set of problems here in Greene County as in most of America, but sorting through the facts in this case and comparing them to the scale of bad prescriptions and medical mill opioid distribution that evidently occurred here in Greene County indicates that Mabry is being used as a scapegoat.

Here in Greene 40 Oxycodone pills were prescribed for each man, woman and child each year on average, for approximately the past decade (see the Washington Post chart, here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/dea-pain-pill-database/ ). This drives home the point that the big distributors who profited here are actually to blame as largely responsible for this epidemic. They were "Big Pharma," like McKesson Industries, a major drug distributor, who also happens to own clinics like NYOH here in NY. McKesson's CEO, John Hammergren is notorious for having pulled nearly $640,000,000 in salary, options, and benefits in the last decade as America's addictions soared.

But here we are being spoon fed a story by the Feds at DEA and the prosecutors that a screwed up doctor who issued 51 prescriptions to her secret girlfriend is at fault. And, the girlfriend was an addict, who was busted by the Feds and turned to testify against Mabry, and encouraged apparently to entrap her into a conspiracy. I don't personally know Mabry, but I hear she was a decent Obgyn well-liked by her patients. She definitely screwed up. But, should we have her made the 'villain' made symbolically responsible for the opioid addiction problems in Greene? Hardly.

There are numerous emergent care and dental clinics along with other parties up here who have enriched their operations writing numerous prescriptions to distribute well over 15,000,000 oxcodone pills in this county this past decade while law enforcement concentrated its attention on pot busts and profiting by harassing Mountain Jam and Rock festivals.

Over the past few years there have been one or two examples of arrests of individuals working in these clinics, but the profiteers at the top of this food chain built on human misery remain untouched, their names emblazoned on the walls of museums, hospital wings, and major universities. Welcome to justice in America in the Dark Ages of Trump.