Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas, Nassau County Police Department Acting Commissioner Thomas Krumpter and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced that a joint investigation led to the arrest on April 14 of several individuals including Dr. Anthony J. Moschetto, 52, a resident of Sands Point, who is a cardiologist with an office in Great Neck. Moschetto, along with James Chmela, 43, of Selden, and James Kalamaras, 41, of Suffolk County, are charged with selling assault rifles and drugs during the course of a complex murder-for-hire plot against a competing doctor.
The execution of search warrants on April 14, during the fourth month of an investigation that is still ongoing, also led to the discovery of approximately 100 weapons in Moschetto’s home, including a hand grenade as well as an AR-15 and an M1 Carbine, each with illegal high-capacity magazines, according to the Office of the Distrit Attorney of Nassau County. Many of the guns and other weapons such as knives were found in a hidden basement room only revealed via a switch-activated, moving bookshelf in the doctor’s home.
According to DA’s Office, Moschetto is currently charged with the following and faces a maximum sentence of 8-1/3 to 25 years in prison on the top charge:
• Conspiracy in the 2nd Degree (a B felony)
• Conspiracy in the 4th Degree (an E felony)
• Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance degree (a C felony)
• Arson in the 3rd Degree (a C felony)
• Burglary in the 3rd Degree (a D felony)
• 2 counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the 3rd Degree (a D felony)
• 2 counts of Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the 3rd Degree (a D felony)
• Criminal Solicitation in the 2nd Degree (a D felony)
• Criminal Solicitation in the 4th Degree (an A misdemeanor)
Dr. Moschetto and the other defendants were arrested on April 14 and arraigned in Nassau County District Court on April 15 today. All defendants entered pleas of not guilty. Bail for Dr. Moschetto was set at $2 million bond or $1.3 million cash. Bail was posted and he was released. Dr. Moschetto surrendered his passport and 2 orders of protection were entered against the victims, according to Shams Tarek, Director of Communications for the DA’s Office. All defendants are due back in court on April 17.
“What started as a routine investigation into the sale of prescription drugs revealed itself to be an even graver and more complex case with very serious allegations involving arson, assault weapons and even a murder plot,” Acting DA Madeline Singas said. “Doctors are supposed to ensure the health and wellbeing of people, but Dr. Moschetto is alleged to have replaced that responsibility with brazen, callous and criminal acts.
Acting DA Singas said that the alleged murder for hire scheme was discovered when an undercover police investigation involving the purchase of Oxycodone pills led to the additional undercover purchases of heroin and two fully loaded assault weapons, as well as the seller’s pursuit of dynamite for the purpose of blowing up a property.
During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that the assault weapons and prescriptions for the pills were originally acquired and transferred to the seller by Dr. Moschetto, who sought to pay for the arson of a fellow cardiologist’s office, as well as the murder of the fellow cardiologist, partially through the illegal transfer of prescriptions and the weapons.
The case dates back to December 2014, when the first of six undercover drug buys from the seller was conducted. During this period of time, the drugs sold to undercover detectives included 410 Oxycodone pills and 198 bags of heroin, accordign to the DA’s Office.
During one of the undercover drug buys, a conversation ensued about a Feb. 25 arson that detectives were subsequently able to link to Dr. Moschetto as ordering it, to Mr. Kalamaras as conducting it and Mr. Chmela as assisting in it. The arson damaged but did not destroy the office of the fellow cardiologist, whose relationship with Dr. Moschetto had soured due to a professional dispute.
The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the NCDA’s Organized Crime and Rackets Bureau; the NCPD’s Narcotics & Vice Squad and Arson Squad; and the DEA’s Long Island Division Office Tactical Diversion Squad, which consists of agents and officers of the DEA, Nassau County Police Department, Rockville Centre Police Department and Port Washington Police Department.
The defendants, who have entered pleas of not guilty, are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty. Sands Point Mayor Ed Adler stated, “No Sands Point official is allowed to comment on a criminal investigation.” Dr. Moschetto’s attorney, Randy Zelin, could not be reached.