Rakesh Punn was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison in December for separate crimes
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a pediatrician who drugged and sexually abused young girls in his Bethpage doctor’s office was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Friday afternoon.
Rakesh Punn, 58, of Bethpage, pleaded guilty on September 5, 2014, before Supreme Court Justice William Donnino, to two counts of Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance (a C felony) and one count of Sexual Abuse in the 1st Degree (a D violent felony). As a condition of his plea, Punn is required to register as a sex offender upon completion of his sentence. He also must forfeit $2,113,994 – criminal proceeds of the medical practice that was used to directly and materially aid Punn to commit these felony crimes. The defendant was sentenced on Friday to a determinate sentence of 15 years by Judge Donnino.
Punn pleaded guilty in November 2012, in a separate case prosecuted by the NCDA, to Grand Larceny in the 2nd Degree (a C felony), two counts of Welfare Fraud in the 3rd Degree (a D felony) and Scheme to Defraud in the 1st Degree (an E felony) for stealing more than $120,000 in taxpayer money through health insurance and welfare fraud. He was sentenced to one to three years imprisonment on that case on March 8, and was ordered to pay restitution of $103,000.
Punn, who pleaded guilty to separate federal sexual abuse charges in April 2015, was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison in December.
All of the prison sentences will run concurrently.
“This sexual predator intentionally targeted the children of Indian immigrants – families that came here to create a better life for their kids,” DA Singas said. “The defendant lured these children to his home office, under the guise of false diagnoses so that parents weren’t present, and used drugs to incapacitate the victims. He would then sexually assault and photograph them. Working with our federal partners we have ensured that this defendant will spend decades of his life behind bars paying for his crimes.”
Punn was arrested on July 16, 2010 on charges that he drugged, sexually abused, and videotaped young female patients in his office, including one victim who was only 11 years old. The defendant told his young patients that these were medically necessary examinations.
DA Singas said that as early as 2007, Punn obtained video footage and still photographs of at least five young girls in his office. In some cases, the defendant would have his victims disrobe, lie on the examining table, and cover their eyes with gauze and a blindfold. He would then videotape or photograph his sexual contact with them. Investigators say that Punn touched and manipulated the girl’s genitals. In many instances, Punn would give the girls a sedative to render them unconscious.
In other instances, Punn ordered the victim to stand in his office, while a small digital camera hidden among objects on his desk recorded video. Punn would then have the victim expose her breasts in various positions while being taped.
The defendant also duped some of the girls into signing a “contract” that said that they were 18 years old and willing to perform numerous sexual acts on Punn.
In addition to the assaults and sexual abuse, Punn wrote prescriptions for chloral-hydrate, a controlled substance, and gave the prescriptions to other patients.
The defendant tricked the patients into filling the prescriptions and asked them to bring the drugs back to him, under the guise of compounding a special drug or “checking” the prescription. Punn then secretly removed the bottle of chloral-hydrate and kept it for himself. Pursuant to a search warrant of his office, three bottles of chloral-hydrate were recovered, with prescription labels in patient's names.
A search of his home revealed a large amount of cash and a forged international driver’s license with his photo, but a false name and birth date.
The investigation began with a tip to the District Attorney’s office and was investigated by the NCPD’s DA Squad and members of the NCPD’s Crimes Against Property Squad.
During the course of the DA’s Office’s investigation into Punn, it was discovered that Punn had assisted numerous friends, family members, and patients in falsifying personal information on applications for medical coverage under the taxpayer-funded Child Health Plus (CHP) and Medicaid programs.
Punn submitted applications on behalf of his patients with false employment and income information that underreported the household income. As a result, the patients were able to avoid paying the family contribution to the premiums, with New York State paying the entire CHP premium. This conduct cost state taxpayers approximately $88,000.
In addition, Punn directed his wife, daughter and son to obtain Medicaid coverage by submitting applications with false address and income information. Punn’s wife and daughter received more than $34,000 worth of taxpayer-funded health coverage to which they were not entitled.
Deputy Chief Anne Donnelly of DA Singas’ Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau is prosecuting the sexual abuse case. Punn is represented by Steve Zissou, Esq.