Wayne Longmore, veteran emergency room doctor and director and owner of the now-closed Woodstock Write-In Doctor’s Office on Mill Hill Road, was sentenced Wednesday morning, February 7, by U.S. Judge Lawrence E. Kahn to six months of house arrest, three years probation, and 200 hours of community service for dispensing drugs, including hydrocodone, improperly.
The Canadian-born physician, whose shuttered office building and West Hurley home are in the name of his wife, New York attorney Rizpah Morrow earlier agreed to give up his medical license, his FDA permit for writing prescriptions and the forfeiture of $200,000 as payment for illegal profits, an undetermined portion of which has already been seized by federal authorities in the form of the former doctor’s car at the time of his arrest, when he made a plea agreement with federal prosecutors last October on the charges.
Longmore, 63, was the focus of a year-long investigation of his drug prescription practices, including the use of surveillance cameras and undercover agents. According to his attorney, David Gruenberg of Troy, the investigation was triggered by calls to federal authorities by local pharmacists who noticed irregular patterns involving his patients.
Federal authorities charged that Longmore had written approximately 9,940 prescriptions for hydrocodone, also known as Vicodin, between Dec. 15, 2010, and Jan. 17, 2012, and that approximately 4,520 of those were for patients under 35.Longmore eventually admitted that he distributed between 2,500 and 5,000 units.
At the sentencing, Gruenberg noted Longmore’s long career as a doctor, his cooperation with authorities, the cumulative punishing effect of his loss of career and livelihood as part of his plea deal, and a wealth of letters from Woodstock community members that came in on the doctor’s behalf as reason for being lenient when sentencing his client. He spoke eloquently about the role one’s profession plays in his self image as the doctor, looking more aged than he has in recent years, sat next to him.
Both men spoke of Longmore’s current financial problems, inability to pay any major fines, and expected difficulties finding meaningful employment from here on. The doctor added that he had a daughter in college in San Francisco, and undue hardship being without a car in Woodstock.
“I would appreciate any consideration, Judge Kahn, that you could afford me,” Longmore said to Judge Kahn, standing. “If I was allowed to have probation I could at least earn an income.”
Kahn said that he didn’t think imprisonment made sense for the doctor, and acknowledged his admission of guilt. He said he hoped the 200 hours of community service included in his sentence would be a way of utilizing Longmore’s “considerable talents.”
Gruenberg later noted that it could be several weeks before details of Longmore’s house arrest can be worked out. As for future employment, he noted that there could be work in medical ancillary markets such as insurance, for which industry the doctor previously worked, for years, as an expert witness.