‘Pill Mill’ nurse and oxycodone operator sentenced

Fake prescriptions, tens of thousands of Oxy pills, “take your pick” of opioids

Photo by Toby Talbot/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that a jury yesterday returned a guilty verdict against PURIFICACION CRISTOBAL for his part in a conspiracy to distribute oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose. acting outside the usual course of professional practice. CRISTOBAL was also found guilty of two counts of distributing oxycodone relating to specific prescriptions. She was found not guilty on other counts of distributing oxycodone relating to other prescriptions. CRISTOBAL will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla, who presided over the roughly two-week trial.

US Attorney Damian Williams said: ‘Purificacion Cristobal prescribed potent drugs to patients, some of whom had no medical need for them and were likely selling them, contributing to the flow of highly potent drugs to New York’s black markets. . We trust healthcare professionals to responsibly manage potentially harmful drugs, and this Office will not turn a blind eye to professionals who breach that trust.

As proven at trial, PURIFICACION CRISTOBAL, a registered nurse practitioner claiming to specialize in psychiatry, operated a clinic on Westchester Avenue in the Bronx. Between June 2019 and approximately June 2020, CRISTOBAL prescribed tens of thousands of doses of oxycodone for no legitimate medical purpose outside of the usual course of professional practice. Oxycodone is a highly potent and addictive opioid that commands high prices on the black market due to demand from addicts. CRISTOBAL often prescribed oxycodone in combination with Xanax (alprazolam) and/or Adderall (amphetamine), controlled substances themselves frequently abused and illicitly resold.

CRISTOBAL never performed physical exams or medical tests, often asked patients to choose from different narcotics, and was repeatedly warned by others that her patients resold or abused drugs she prescribed. She encouraged existing patients to enroll more, regularly accepted cash, and charged different cash “fees” based on the number of prescriptions she wrote for a particular patient. CRISTOBAL also coordinated with a nearby pharmacist, to whom she referred several of her patients, to protect her illegal prescribing practices from law enforcement scrutiny.

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CRISTOBAL, 75, of Lyndhurst, New Jersey, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and two counts of distributing oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose acting outside the ordinary course of the professional practice. These counts carry, in total, a maximum potential sentence of 60 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad in the New York Field Office, which is made up of agents and officers from the DEA, Department of New York City Police, New York City Department of Investigation, Health & Hospitals Office of the Inspector General, New York State Department of Health Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement, US Department of Health and Human Services and the New York National Guard.

This case is handled by the Narcotics Unit of the Office. Assistant United States Attorneys Jun Xiang, Kyle A. Wirshba and Derek Wikstrom are charged with the prosecution.