A Queens doctor acted more like an illegal drug pusher, say prosecutors, selling hundreds of dangerous, addictive narcotics every day for the past two years. And police are investigating his connection to 10 of his patients, who all died of painkiller overdoses.
Dr. Stan Li appeared in Manhattan Supreme court yesterday on criminal charges of reckless endangerment. Li, a licensed anesthesiologist who lives in Hamilton Township, N.J., allegedly charged patients high fees for painkiller prescriptions, said officials with the Office of the Special New York Narcotics Prosecutor.
He even sold OxyContin to patients who had just overdosed and then came begging to him for more, said officials; 10 of Li’s patients allegedly overdosed after he wrote them prescriptions.
Prosecutors say that Li wrote out as many as 17,000 prescriptions in just over two years from his Flushing pain clinic, Medical Pain Management. Crowds would line up outside his clinic door for hours, officials said, waiting for him to write them prescriptions. Li saw as many as 120 patients a day, according to prosecutors, and about 65 percent of his prescriptions were for oxycodone or similarly addictive painkilling drugs.
After a yearlong investigation, cops arrested Li Sunday morning at his clinic. He was scheduled to be charged with 15 counts of criminally selling prescriptions and five counts of reckless endangerment.
Linked to 10 deaths?
City officials are investigating Li’s alleged drug sales to 10 patients who later died of drug overdoses. Deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses nationwide has reached “epidemic” levels, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some of those prescriptions went to a Queens man, Michael Cornetta, who overdosed twice during the time Li was “treating” him, prosecutors said.
“He was signing a death warrant for Michael Cornetta,” NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Officials are investigating Li’s connection to nine other patients who also later died.
Most of Li’s patients were between 21 and 40 years old, prosecutors said.
May have supplied Long Island killer
Li reportedly also wrote prescriptions to David Laffer, a man who was sentenced to life in prison for killing four people in a Medford, Long Island, pharmacy on June 19. His wife told reporters that he was trying to get pills for her painkiller addiction. He was sentenced to five life sentences without parole earlier this month, with a judge recommending solitary confinement.
Cops began investigating Li after complaints of people reselling pills near his office. Two people were arrested in August for selling outside a pharmacy just after filling a prescription from Li.
Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.