Tonawanda News

September 8, 2012

Drug doctor in court

Staff Reports
The Tonawanda News

— A North Tonawanda doctor was indicted on seven counts of of unlawfully distributing and dispensing controlled subtstances to his patients out of his home and office in U.S. District Court Friday. 

Matthew A. Bennett, who lives in Clarence, is facing a maximum 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each count. The Indictment also seeks forfeiture of Bennett’s office building on River Road and his residence in Clarence. 

Bennett closed his practice after a search warrant was executed at his medical office on Aug. 10, when federal agents swarmed the office. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who is handling the case, stated that on seven occasions between May and July 2012, Bennett issued prescriptions for controlled substances to undercover law enforcement officers without a proper medical examination and outside the norms of professional medical treatment, including oxycodone and oxymorphone. 

In addition, on several occasions, Bennett gave prescriptions to the undercover officers in exchange for items such as paper products and a gas grill, Lynch said. 

Dale Kasprzyk, agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Buffalo, said his arm of the federal government will continue to tackle the growing prescription drug epidemic. 

“We will be looking at everyone including medical professionals,” he said. 

The DEA became interested in Bennett’s practices after North Tonawanda police tipped the agency off that several individuals arrested for illegal use of prescription drugs retrieved them from the doctor’s office. 

A slew of law enforcement agencies became entrenched in the investigation, including the Niagara County Drug Task Force, the Amherst, Buffalo, Lancaster and West Seneca police departments and the New York State Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. 

Bennett continues to remain free on a non-financial bond.