Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice and Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division said that two Nassau county psychiatrists – including one who had already lost his license to practice in New York – have been arrested and charged with working together to sell prescriptions for highly addictive and dangerous drugs to patients in exchange for cash up front.
Howard Mahler, 62, of Long Beach, is charged with five counts of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance (a C felony), as well as Conspiracy in the 4th Degree (an E felony). He faces a maximum of five to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top charge.
Marshall Hubsher, 64, of Sands Point, is charged with five counts of Unauthorized Practice of a Profession, as well as Conspiracy in the 4th Degree (both E felonies). He faces a maximum of 1-1/3 to four years in prison if convicted.
In April 2012, Hubsher was arrested and charged with Rape in the 3rd Degree for allegedly having sexual relations with a patient. Hubsher surrendered his license to practice medicine in New York in June 2012 to resolve multiple unrelated charges brought by the State Board for Professional Medical Conduct.
Nassau County District Court Judge Terence Murphy set bail for Mahler today at $180,000 bond or $90,000 cash. He set bail for Hubsher at $240,000 bond or $120,000 cash. Mahler and Hubsher are due back in court on Nov. 3. Hubsher is also due back in court for his rape case on Dec. 1.
"Selling prescriptions for highly addictive and dangerous drugs in a doctor's office is no better than selling those same drugs in the street," DA Rice said. “The actions of these defendants not only hurt their patients and their communities but bring dishonor to their profession as well. I thank the DEA and the Nassau County Police Department for their partnership in this ongoing joint investigation and in combating the prescription drug epidemic on Long Island as a whole.”
“Drug law enforcement is fighting prescription drug abuse by doing what we do best -- identifying, investigating and arresting those who play a role in the distribution of diverted medication throughout our neighborhoods,” Special Agent in Charge Hunt said. “In this case, those responsible were two doctors working in tandem with no regard for their patient’s health nor for public safety.”
DA Rice said that Mahler and Hubsher conspired to sell Adderall and Xanax prescriptions to patients in Hubsher’s former office in Roslyn, where Hubsher continued to receive patients even after losing his license to practice medicine. Investigators found that on at least three occasions, Hubsher met patients in a non-traditional setting like the office hallway to ask medical questions and receive cash, before the patients were then directed to Mahler, who would write prescriptions for Adderall or Xanax based in part on the information given to Hubsher. On one occasion, an undercover detective posing as a patient told Hubsher that he was requesting a higher dosage of Adderall in order to sell unused pills to fund purchases of Oxycodone.
Members of the DEA Long Island Division's Tactical Diversion Group arrested Mahler and Hubsher at Hubsher's office the evening of Oct. 29. The Group, which is investigating this case with DA Rice’s office, consists of agents and officers from the DEA, the Nassau County Police Department, the Rockville Centre Police Department and the Port Washington Police Department.
Assistant District Attorney Silvia Finkelstein, Deputy Bureau Chief of DA Rice’s Street Narcotics and Gangs Bureau, is prosecuting the drug case. Assistant District Attorney Cristina Colon is prosecuting Hubsher’s rape case. Mahler was represented at arraignment today by the Legal Aid Society. Hubsher was represented at arraignment today by David Schwartz, Esq. and is represented by Benjamin Brafman, Esq. in his rape case.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.