NY cardiologist charged for arranging hit on competitor

The conclusion of a seemingly routine prescription pill investigation resulted in the arrest Tuesday of Anthony J. Moschetto, DO, a cardiologist affiliated with Roslyn, N.Y.-based St. Francis Hospital, in a murder-for-hire scheme. Dr. Moschetto was charged with several crimes, including conspiracy, arson and criminal solicitation, according to the Long Island Press.

Dr. Moschetto's plot was aimed at a former business partner turned competitor, who was not named in the report.

The investigation into Dr. Moschetto began in December when the Drug Enforcement Agency received an anonymous tip regarding an unusually high volume of oxycodone prescriptions coming out of his Great Neck, N.Y. office. The DEA's investigation included six undercover drug buys. More than 400 oxycodone pills and 198 bags of heroin were sold, the DA's office told the Long Island Press. The investigation also led police to a more recent sale of two assault rifles and heroin.

Dr. Moschetto was arrested after he was caught on video allegedly soliciting an undercover police officer to murder his rival. Police were able to link Dr. Moschetto and two other men he had solicited in a failed arson attempt in February that aimed to destroy his competitor's medical office. The fire was quickly extinguished. No one was injured and the building sustained only minor damage. The two hired men, James Chmela and James Kalamaras, were also arrested Tuesday for setting the fire.

Dr. Moschetto began discussions of the alleged murder-for-hire plan after the failed arson attempt. According to the report, Dr. Moschetto was willing to pay the supposed hired gun $5,000 to assault the physician enough to require several months of hospitalization and $20,000 to kill him. He allegedly even proposed the idea of assaulting the victim's wife if she was present during the encounter. Dr. Moschetto offered a confidential informant blank prescriptions, cash and guns as payment.

"[Moschetto] wanted to put him out of business so he could get his business," Anne Donnelly, deputy chief of organized crime and racketeering bureau and assistant district attorney, told the Long Island Press.

On the day Dr. Moschetto was arrested, a search warrant of his home allegedly revealed he had been storing a collection of Medieval-style weapons and firearms — many of them illegal — hidden in a secret room behind a motorized revolving bookcase, according to the report.

"It's unusual for an investigation to reveal such a wide array of crimes being committed by an individual who is seemingly respected by the medical community," acting-Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter told the Long Island Press. Dr. Moschetto "was exposed as a deplorable, despicable criminal," Mr. Krumpter added.

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