Dr. Kesler Dalmacy, a prominent physician in New York’s Haitian community, has pleaded guilty to illegally prescribing pain medicines to patients who did not need the highly addictive drugs, according to federal prosecutors. Dalmacy, 70, entered the guilty plea Monday in a Brooklyn federal court.
Federal authorities say Dalmacy, who is also a past candidate for Haiti’s presidency, prescribed addictive medications outside of his medical practice in exchange for cash. Between January 2014 and February 2020, Dalmacy prescribed thousands of pills, including Adderall, Vicodin, Tylenol with Codeine and Oxycodone, according to a Feb. 24 criminal complaint filed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
“The defendant not only prescribed highly addictive controlled substances without a legitimate medical need, but also went out of his way to attempt to evade law enforcement,” said DEA Special Agent-in-Charge Ray Donovan, in a prepared statement after the May 17 plea. “Today’s plea demonstrates that the defendant is taking responsibility for betraying the trust of his patients, his community, and his oath.”
Through his attorney, Dalmacy admitted he made a mistake. “Dr. Dalmacy knew that he had made a mistake and, as a man of strong moral character, wanted to accept full responsibility for that mistake without any undue delay or excuse,” said Matthew Kluger, an attorney representing Dalmacy.
The February complaint, filed by Rushang Patel, a special agent of the DEA, did not state how much money Dalmacy received in total for the illegal prescriptions nor how many people went to him for the drugs during the six years mentioned.
Per the complaint, a former patient of Dalmacy’s, identified only as Jane Doe #1, visited the doctor after she became addicted to prescription pain medication. During her initial visit in 2014, she lied about a recent surgery and was prescribed Tramadol, an opioid pain medication.
Dalmacy charged her in cash, according to the complaint.
“Dalmacy did not ask Jane Doe #1 any questions about her surgery or seek medical records … and did not make any recording in a manual or electronic patient record,” the complaint says.
For three years, the patient received more than 7,000 tablets of Tylenol with Codeine, Tramadol and Xanax, collectively.
Two undercover NYPD officers were also able to obtain prescriptions in exchange for cash on multiple occasions, often without any medical examination, the complaint also stated.
Sentencing scheduled for fall
Dalmacy has been free on $100,000 bail since his arraignment hearing in February.
In April, he spoke at a street co-naming ceremony organized by District 40 Council Member Mathieu Eugene.
A family medicine physician, Dalmacy has practiced medicine for more than 30 years around Brooklyn, and currently has an office at 1671 New York Ave. in East Flatbush. He also ran for president of Haiti in the country’s most recent election, five years ago.
“He’s really well-respected and well-loved by his patients,” said Dr. Jean-Claude Compas, of Queens, a retired physician who considers Dalmacy a friend.
“It’s totally a surprise that happened,” Compas said, after hearing of Dalmacy’s guilty plea. “Hopefully they don’t remove his license, because that would be a loss for the community.”
Dr. Pierre Exuma, of Mill Basin, said he was also surprised at the charges against Dalmacy, who is an acquaintance. “This is a man that stood by the community and has been helping people.”
Given the opioid crisis, Dalmacy’s case should serve as a warning for physicians to think carefully before signing a prescription, Exuma said.
“I don’t know the motive of each physician, but it should send a red flag to think about whether they have to protect themselves,” said Exuma. “We’ve seen many doctors not be able to find the right footing.”
The Dalmacy case is the latest in a series of prosecutions by federal and local law enforcement authorities dubbed the Prescription Drug Initiative. The Department of Justice said the initiative has resulted in 160 criminal prosecutions to address drug trafficking and the abuse of pharmaceuticals.
Dalmacy pleaded to one count of illegal distribution of a controlled substance. The charge carries a maximum federal prison sentence of 20 years.
However, if his criminal record is clean, Dalmacy could face 46 to 57 months in prison, according to his plea agreement, shared by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. Dalmacy is required to forfeit $3,730 he made from his illegal activity and to permanently surrender his DEA registration, which practicing physicians need in order to prescribe controlled substances.
A sentencing hearing is set for Oct. 27, at the U.S. Eastern District court in downtown Brooklyn.