Feds say Kearny doc sought to torch his offices

By Karen Zautyk
Observer Correspondent

KEARNY —

A Kearny doctor has been indicted in Pennsylvania for allegedly attempting to hire a Philadelphia man to burn down the Kearny Ave. building housing his medical practice.

The motive, authorities said, was to destroy his patient files.

The doctor is also accused of illegally dispensing prescription painkillers. The indictment was handed up last week in Philadelphia against Dr. Mudassar Sharif, 40, who owned Garden State Primary Care at 711 Kearny Ave., it was announced by Zane David Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Sharif resides in Bernards Township.

According to the indictment, the doctor had been providing “medically unnecessary” oxycodone prescriptions to the Philadelphia man after meeting him in November 2012. That individual is now a cooperating witness — identified by authorities only as CW#1.

Sharif reportedly charged $500 per prescription and, on all but two occasions, traveled to Philadelphia to give the scripts to the man.

It is also alleged that Sharif “wrote the prescriptions in five or six names provided by CW#1 and eventually began to sell oxycodone pills to CW#1 in addition to the prescriptions.”

Sharif reportedly began charging $15 per pill and $3,000 for prescriptions. According to the criminal complaint, Sharif started talking to CW#l about burning down the Kearny Ave. offices “in order to destroy his files because he was having an issue with Medicare or Medicaid.”

The complaint alleges that, in exchange for committing arson, CW#l would  not have to pay for 300 pills the doctor had already provided to him.

Also according to the complaint: “Sharif allegedly told CW#l that no one lived in his building and no one would be in the office when CW#l committed the arson.

“Sharif claimed that a disabled woman who lived near his office would be fine and, later, when CW#l commented that the whole building would go up in flames and the lady would be dead, Sharif did not protest.”

Authorities said the fire was never set.

The indictment followed an investigation by the FBI’s Health Care Fraud Task Force, the Philadelphia Police Department and the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services.

If convicted of all charges, Sharif faces a mandatory minimum term of 5 years in prison, fines of up to $1.25 million and at least three years of supervised release — perhaps a lifetime of supervised release.

Kevin Canessa Jr. | Observer Correspondent & Webmaster

Kevin Canessa Jr. is a journalist and webmaster at The Observer. He is responsible for the editorial content on the newspaper's website, the production of the e-Edition, covering the Nutley Police Department and more behind the scenes. From 2006 to 2008, he served as the editor of The Observer, where he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video for the very first time. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Fla., for four years until February 2016 and recently moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.