Pill doc sentenced to 5 1/2 years


A Kearny doctor arrested last year for illegally dispensing prescription painkillers — and for trying to hire a Philadelphia man to set fire to his Kearny Ave. offices — has been sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison, federal authorities reported last week.

Dr. Mudassar Sharif, 41, who owned Garden State Primary Care at 711 Kearny Ave., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia to one count of attempted malicious damage and two counts of distribution of controlled substances, authorities said. He was arrested in February 2015 and indicted the following month.

Sharif, whose medical license reportedly has been revoked for five years, has been incarcerated since his arrest. It is expected that he will get credit for time served and apparently could reduce his prison term by a year if he completes a drug and alcohol treatment program.

According to information provided at the time of his arrest, Sharif was a resident of Bernards Township and, starting in November 2012, had been making regular runs to Philadelphia to sell a man oxycodone pills and prescriptions — in phony names.

Eventually, Sharif started talking to the man about having him burn down the Kearny Ave. offices “in order to destroy his [patient] files because he was having an issue with Medicare or Medicaid,” the criminal complaint charged.

The building housed tenants other than Sharif, authorities said.

The fire was never set, and the proposed arsonist turned state’s witness against the doctor. Sharif was arrested following 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.

In addition to the prison term, Sharif faced a fine of up to $1.25 million, but he escaped the monetary penalty. However, one published report said the government did seize $3,042 found in the center console of his car when he was taken into custody.

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