Anthony Grado, a member of the Luchese organized crime family, and Lawrence Tranese, an associate of the Colombo organized crime family, were sentenced by United States District Judge Carol B. Amon to 12 years’ and 40 months’ imprisonment respectively for conspiring to distribute oxycodone that they obtained through fraudulent prescriptions. The Court also ordered Grado to pay $70,000 in forfeiture and Tranese $12,000 in forfeiture.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department (NYPD), announced the sentence.
“Today’s sentence punishes the defendants for ruthlessly endangering our community through their organized crime-backed distribution of highly-addictive opioid drugs,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “This Office, working together with our law enforcement partners, will continue our relentless efforts against those responsible for the opioid epidemic.” Mr. Donoghue thanked the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance during this investigation.
“Opioid and prescription drug abuse affects communities and families in New York and across the country. Grado and Tranese’s conspiracy to distribute oxycodone contributed to this nationwide crisis, and even worse, they threatened a doctor with violence in order to coerce him into providing fraudulent prescriptions,” stated FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney. “Today’s sentence should stand as a warning to organized crime families, their associates, and anyone else who would commit similar acts in order to further the scourge of opioid addiction for their own benefit: you will be found out and brought to justice.”
“Dismantling criminal enterprises, in all their forms, will always be a priority for the NYPD and our law-enforcement partners at the Eastern District and the FBI,” stated NYPD Commissioner O’Neill. “Collectively, we have a very long reach and we will not tire in our mission of fighting crime and keeping people safe – which includes removing from our streets anyone who adds to our nation’s opioid crisis by dealing illegal narcotics.”
Grado and Tranese, together with their coconspirators, gave a Brooklyn-based doctor the names of people for whom the doctor should write prescriptions, and the doctor complied, usually without conducting any physical examinations. The defendants then filled the prescriptions and sold the pills. Alternatively, the defendants and their coconspirators used violence and threats of violence to force the doctor to write the prescriptions, or seized the doctor’s prescription pad and Grado completed the prescription. In one recorded conversation, Grado told the doctor that he would make the doctor write “a thousand scripts a day and [expletive] feed you to the [expletive] lions” if the doctor wrote prescriptions without Grado’s approval. In the same conversation, Grado told the doctor that if newly ordered prescription pads “go in anybody’s hands” besides Grado’s, “I’ll put a bullet right in your head.” During the course of the conspiracy, one of Grado’s associates stabbed the doctor in a dispute over the doctor’s prescription pads.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Mathew S. Miller and Matthew J. Jacobs are in charge of the prosecution.