A dirty Queens pharmacist caught peddling opioids to addicts got four years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty.
Victor LaPerla, 64, who hobbled to the defense table in jail sweats with the aid of a cane, turned Dale Pharmacy & Surgical on Jamaica Ave. in Richmond Hill into a lucrative pill mill by faking over 800 prescriptions for 30-milligram oxycodone pills between March 2013 and May 2018 in the names of two physicians.
LaPerla pleaded guilty on Aug. 8 to criminal sale of a controlled substance and conspiracy charges in exchange for the prison term. He’ll be monitored for five years following his release and will be saddled with a $188,000 forfeiture.
On Thursday, as he sat at the defense table unshaven and looking frail, his sentence was handed down by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Abraham Clott.
The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said that LaPerla, along with pharmacy technician Bianca Martinez, 33, made deals with an active street supplier who paid them to fill the illegal prescriptions.
Throughout the probe, at least 158,000 highly addictive 30-milligram oxycodone pills were dispensed, with a street market value of up to $4 million.
Two doctors whose stolen prescription pads were being used in the hustle reported the fraud to state authorities.
After the sentencing, LaPerla’s lawyer Raymond Perini said his client surrendered his license to practice, which was also a condition of the plea deal.
“He’s made a terrible mistake. He’s accepted responsibility,” Perini said. “He’s now going to pay by forfeiting the profession he loved and by losing his freedom.”
The lawyer noted that LaPerla has “tremendous health issues” that led to a “medication problem." He has metal rods in his back, the attorney pointed out. Perini suggested the dependency played a factor and impacted his judgement with respect to the bad behavior.