N.Y. cardiologist maintains innocence in murder-for-hire plot

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 - Courtroom

A cardiologist accused in a murder-for-hire scheme entered a plea of not guilty on April 15. The police filed charges, which included allegations of illegal prescriptions, arson, weapons stashed behind a sliding bookcase and a plot to murder a fellow cardiologist, after they searched his home in Sand Points, N.Y.

The Nassau County District Attorney’s Office in Long Island released details of a drug investigation that dates back to 2014 and culminated in the arrest on April 15 of Anthony J. Moschetto, MD, 54, a cardiologist who practices in New York. He is one of three people targeted in an investigation into the sale of illegal drugs and weapons, arson and a murder-for-hire plot.

Investigators claimed that Moschetto had offered a confidential informant and an undercover detective blank prescriptions and cash to carry out an attack on another cardiologist; his wife if she was present; and at a later point the murder of the cardiologist. They said the two doctors had had a “professional dispute.”

The investigation was prompted by what Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas called a “routine” investigation into the sale of prescription drugs in December 2014. Between then and March 15, undercover agents purchased 410 Oxycodone pills and 198 bags of heroin. One undercover detective purchased an Uzi 9-mm semi-automatic assault weapon with a 25-round magazine, a semi-automatic assault weapon with a 30-round magazine and ammunition for both.

The investigators claim that the pills and weapons originally were acquired by Moschetto and passed on to the seller as part of an effort to pay for the arson, requested attacks and murder-for-hire attempt on the other cardiologist. Police said a conversation during one of the drug buys tipped them off about the arson, which damaged but didn’t destroy the doctor’s office.

“Dr. Moschetto is a new breed of drug trafficker; one who sells blank prescription pads, assault weapons; plots attempted murders, commits arson and distributes diverted prescription pain pills out of his medical office,” U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said in a release.

A search warrant executed on April 14 at Moschetto’s house unearthed about 100 weapons, including a hand grenade, assault guns and knives, many of them stashed in the basement in a room hidden by a switch-activated, moving bookshelf, police said.

Moschetto faces 10 felony counts and one misdemeanor for a maximum possible prison term of 25 years if he is found guilty. The other defendants in the case are James Chmela, 43, of Selden, and James Kalamaras, 41, of Suffolk County.