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New City Psychiatrist Pleads Guilty in Federal Drug Probe

Dr. Aristide Esser admits illicitly distributing prescription medications.

A Rockland County psychiatrist has pleaded guilty in federal court to illegally distributing prescription drugs.

Dr. , 82, a medical doctor and board-certified psychiatrist in New City, on two separate occasions in 2011 provided an individual cooperating with the government with prescriptions for Seconal in another person’s name, according to Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He said Esser never performed an adequate medical examination of the individual, never conducted a psychiatric examination of the individual, and never provided any counseling services to the individual.

During one appointment, according to charges against the doctor, Esser told the individual that he would “gladly medicate” the individual’s friends if they made appointments with him.

Esser was arrested Nov. 18, 2011. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth M. Karas in White Plains on Nov. 2 on charges of distributing and dispensing secobarbital, a Schedule II controlled substance that is commonly sold in a form known as “Seconal,” outside the scope of professional medical practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose.

Esser's medical license has been suspended by New York.

Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office, and the Rockland County Narcotics Task Force and he also thanked the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department, the Rockland County Intelligence Center, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, and the New York State Department of Health.

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