NEW YORK — Two mobsters strong-armed a Brooklyn doctor into writing prescriptions for hundreds of thousands of Oxycodone pills by threatening to put a bullet in his head if he stopped, federal prosecutors said.
Anthony Grado, a 54-year-old foot soldier in the Luchese family, was caught on tape telling the doctor that he would feed him “to the f**king lions” if he ever wrote prescriptions without the family’s permission, prosecutors said.
The shakedown came to light as Grado and his accomplice, Lawrence Tranese, 55, pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to distribute Oxycodone in Brooklyn federal court.
The men admitted that they enlisted the help of other gangsters to fill the prescriptions and they would then sell them, the US Attorney’s office said. In all, they purloined 230,000 of the highly addictive pills through the scheme.
Grado used a mixture of threats and violence to keep the doctor in line. At one point, Grado was recorded saying, “I’ll put a bullet right in your head,” if the doctor’s new prescription pads “go in anybody’s hands” but his.
Later, the doctor was stabbed by a Luchese associate on Grado’s orders, prosecutors said.
“Lucchese family member Grado imperiled our community, threatening a doctor to force him to write prescriptions for Oxycodone and then trafficking in the addictive drugs,” said Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue. “Violent threats to a doctor by Mafia defendants, combined with their trafficking of Oxycodone pills, posed an especially serious danger to our community.”
The defendants face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million when sentenced.