NYC Pharmacy Owner Busted in Monster Painkiller Scheme, Federal Prosecutors Say

Michael Paulsen's pharmacy dispensed only about 36 percent of the 170,000 oxycodone pills he ordered since March 2016, court papers say

What to Know

  • A Staten Island pharmacy owner is accused of ordering more than 170K oxycodone pills since March 2016; the pharmacy dispensed only $62K
  • Feds allege he distributed large quantities of the pills to customers who didn't have valid prescriptions for thousands in cash in return
  • DEA Special Agent in Charge Raymond Donovan says it's alleged "lives were endangered" every time he opened the door for illegal peddling

The owner of a Staten Island pharmacy has been arrested on federal charges of illegally distributing tens of thousands of oxycodone pills and operating a healthcare fraud and kickback scheme, prosecutors say.

Michael Paulsen, the 41-year-old owner and operator of Regal Remedies, is accused of ordering more than 170,000 oxycodone pills from pharmaceutical suppliers since March 2016. His pharmacy, which DEA agents shut down Thursday with an Immediate Suspension Order, dispensed only 62,000 of the pills, court papers say. 

Paulsen, who is not a registered pharmacist and is not authorized to distribute controlled substances in New York state, allegedly distributed large quantities of the pills to pharmacy customers, including co-conspirators, who either did not have valid prescriptions or had fraudulent prescriptions. He received thousands of dollars in return, according to court documents. 

Prosecutors say Paulsen knew that some of the pills would be resold at street level.

In addition to illegally distributing oxycodone pills, Paulsen also allegedly instructed customers to order medically unnecessary products, which Paulsen then billed to Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance providers. Paulsen then allegedly gave a portion of those reimbursements to his customers as compensation, court papers say.

“It is alleged that lives were endangered every time Michael Paulsen opened Regal Remedies’ front or back door to peddle unprescribed opioids,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Raymond P. Donovan said in a statement. "Working with our local, state, and federal partners, DEA’s priority is to investigate those responsible for pushing diverted pills, heroin, and fentanyl into our communities."

Paulsen is expected to appear in federal court in Manhattan later Thursday. Attorney information for him wasn't immediately clear.

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