Woodstock dentist Vivian Letizia faces up to 20 years in prison on charges she purchased and filled prescriptions for nearly 2900 oxycodone tablets to feed her own habit.
Letizia, 62, of Stone Ridge, was arrested September 22 on a criminal complaint by federal Drug Enforcement Agency agents after a lengthy investigation.
She appeared September 22 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District in Albany on the charge of illegally dispensing controlled substances for non-medical purposes outside the usual course of professional practice. If convicted, Letizia faces 20 years in prison and up to $1 million in fines.
According to the criminal complaint filed in the Northern District on September 18, Letizia ordered 2800 tablets of the narcotic painkiller oxycodone to be delivered to her dental practice at 2 Maverick Road in Woodstock between April 2018 and January 2020 “exclusively for her own consumption.”
She also prescribed 92 tablets of Percocet, a brand name for oxycodone, to four patients between December 2019 and January 2020, with the intent of picking them up at area pharmacies including CVS in Woodstock and Kingston, Hannaford in Kingston and Walmart in the Town of Ulster for her own use, according to the complaint.
In all cases, Letizia filled or attempted to fill the prescriptions under the guise of picking them up on behalf of her patients. She was seen on video surveillance in all four locations.
When a December 19, 2019 prescription for 40 Percocet tablets and 20 Clindamycin capsules had not been picked up from the Kingston CVS as of January 2, 2020, a pharmacist contacted the patient, who said he hadn’t been prescribed any medications and lives in Queens.
Letizia attempted to pick up the two prescriptions on January 3. The pharmacist again contacted the patient who again confirmed he was unaware of any prescriptions.
The pharmacist refused to fill the prescriptions because they were not prescribed to Letizia. When Letizia said she was the prescriber and would deliver the prescriptions to the patient, the pharmacist again refused and contacted the state Department of Health Narcotic Enforcement Bureau, according to the complaint.
Letizia was able to pick up prescriptions filled by the other three locations.
State Narcotic Enforcement Bureau investigators visited Letizia’s practice on February 12, when, during an interview, she admitted writing the prescriptions and ordering oxycodone to be delivered to the office for her own consumption.
“They were totally for me. I didn’t, uh, I’m not flooding the streets with narcotics,” Letizia told investigators. “I have a substance abuse problem.”
Investigators reviewed records for the four patients for which the prescriptions were written and found records for one patient did not exist, according to the complaint.
For the other three, investigators found the dental work performed, including teeth cleaning, was not consistent with an oxycodone prescription.
They also found the dates of treatment did not line up with the dates for the prescriptions, “indicating Letizia was using those patient names as a method to obtain oxycodone for her own personal consumption,” the complaint states.