Bergen County Doctor Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Distributing Opioids to Patients

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

NEWARK, N.J. – A Bergen County doctor was sentenced today to 72 months in prison for distributing opioids without a legitimate medical reason and falsifying medical records to cover it up, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Robert Delagente, 48, of Oakland, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark federal court to an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled dangerous substances, three counts of distribution of controlled dangerous substances, and one count of falsifying medical records. Judge Cecchi imposed the sentence today.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Beginning in May 2014, Delagente was a doctor at a medical practice called North Jersey Family Medicine (NJFM) in Oakland, New Jersey. Delagente knowingly prescribed controlled substances, such as oxycodone, Percocet, Tylenol with codeine, and various benzodiazepines (alprazolam, diazepam, clonazepam, and temazepam), outside the ordinary course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. He ignored the inherent danger and medical risk of overdose, drug abuse, and death that can accompany prescriptions of highly addictive opioids, benzodiazepines, and muscle relaxers, both on their own and in combination with one another.

Delagente also was charged with altering medical records of patients who received controlled substance prescriptions from him after law enforcement officials had subpoenaed the records in late April 2019.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Cecchi sentenced Delagente to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Messenger in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jason S. Gould of the Health Care Fraud Unit and Sean M. Sherman of the Opioids Unit in Newark.