Convicted felon provided names for fraudulent opioid prescriptions in exchange for cash
A man who admitted providing phony patients to a disgraced physician in a scheme to obtain opioids for illicit street sales has been sentenced to federal prison.
Zachary Lusk, 40, of Plainville, Ga., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. to 40 months in prison after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute and to Distribute Controlled Substances (Schedule IV), said Bobby L. Christine, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia.
After completion of his sentence, Lusk will spend three years on supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
As described in court documents and testimony, Lusk admitted providing lists of individuals to Dr. Johnny Di Blasi, a physician who operated clinics in Pooler, Ga., and Braselton, Ga. Di Blasi wrote prescriptions for opioids and other controlled substances, including Oxycodone and Alprazolam, which Lusk would have filled at pharmacies. Lusk sold the pills for cash and shared the proceeds with Di Blasi.
Some of these prescriptions were written to several individuals Lusk brought to meet with Di Blasi at a restaurant where, during an “oxycodone breakfast,” Di Blasi provided illegitimate prescriptions to the group.
Di Blasi is serving a 33-month federal sentence after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Unlawfully Dispense Controlled Substances (Oxycodone).
“With ‘Dr. Johnny’ providing access to addictive opioids, Zachary Lusk operated a lucrative business as a street-level drug dealer,” said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “They’ve both exchanged that ‘easy money’ for their freedom as they are held accountable for fueling the deadly opioid crisis.”
Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division stated, “This case was made possible because of spirited cooperation between DEA, its law enforcement partners and the subsequent prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Zachary Lusk lined his pockets off the backs of addicts strung out on prescription medication. Consequently, he can no longer fuel the opioid crisis by feeding prescription pill seekers, but instead, will join his disgraced co-conspirator Dr. Johnny Di Blasi by spending well-deserved time in prison.”
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT), with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Josephson, J. Thomas Clarkson and Jonathan Porter prosecuted the case for the United States.