Yonkers Cardiologist Charged With Illegal Drug Distribution

On July 25, 2012, Dr. Rohan Wijetilaka, 63, a cardiologist with a practice in Yonkers, was arrested by DEA agents on federal illegal drug distribution charges. It is alleged that Dr. Wijetilaka issued prescriptions for Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, and other controlled substances for cash or in exchange for an agreement to bill health insurers for tests that were never performed. Other agencies that were involved in the sting operation included the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health, the Human Service Office of the Inspector General and the Yonkers Police Department. Apparently, the DEA utilized a confidential informant wearing a wire, who was able to obtain an Oxycodone prescription for himself and another person for cash.

The operation began in late April went the informant went in the Yonkers office and paid Dr. Wijetilaka’s receptionist for Oxycodone prescriptions for himself and his ”girlfriend”, although neither was examined by the doctor. Purportedly, Dr. Wijetilaka continued to make sales to the confidential informant through June, in exchange for cash and therapy and exams that were never conducted.

It has been reported that Dr. Wijetilaka also issued prescriptions for Percocet, OxyContin and other controlled substances besides Oxycodone. Also arrested was Dr. Wijetilaka’s assistant and girlfriend, Rachida Naciri, 50, who was charged with criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions, which is a misdemeanor. Ms. Naciri’s case is not in Federal Court, but in Yonkers City Court, where she was arraigned, pled not guilty and is due back in Court on August 16, 2012.

When Dr. Wijetilaka was arrested on the 25th, officers allegedly seized $15,000 in cash from his apartment. He was arraigned before a federal magistrate on July 26, 2012 and released on $200,000 bond secured by $50,000 and two co-signers. As conditions of his bond, Dr. Wijetilaka was required to surrender his passport, not practice medicine, not possess firearms and remain in New York. Interestingly, it has been reported that Wijetilaka’s medical license had recently been revoked earlier in July for performing unnecessary tests, failing to keep records, and for gross incompetence. He was fined $50,000.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District, Preet Bharara, has been very aggressive in his pursuit of illegal drug distribution and corruption by public officials, with several high profile convictions in New York and Westchester, most recently of ex State Senator and assemblyman Nick Spano earlier this year.

Dr. Wijetilaka is due back in White Plains Federal Court on August 22, 2012. If convicted of the charges against him, Dr. Wijetilaka faces a maximum jail term of 20 years and a fine of $1,000,000 or twice the gain from his alleged crimes, whichever is greater.


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