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Friday, May 29, 2015
Local doc pleads guilty in oxy case
Penny Frondelli
A saga that began many months ago concluded with a guilty plea by a Baldwin doctor last week.

The complex saga of Baldwin doctor William Conway, 70, resulted in a guilty plea last week when the embattled physician copped to a charge of conspiring to distribute oxycodone. The plea bargain allowed Conway to duck a possible sentence of life in prison after he was initially charged with causing the deaths of two people to whom he provided prescriptions­ — Giovanni Manzella and Christopher Basmas.

Conway, whose lawyers argued that he was duped into providing the pills, now faces up to 20 years in prison, a revocation of his medical license and up to $1 million in fines.

Conway’s arrest and subsequent conviction began to take shape in 2011, when federal officials cracked down on the illegal distribution of prescription painkillers on Long Island, spurred in part by a murderous drugstore robbery in Medford that June.

Conway’s longtime assistant, Robert Hachemeister, 67, also a Baldwin resident, pleaded guilty to the same charges about six months ago, and testified against his employer of 20 years. Hachemeister, who also faces up 20 years in prison, said in court that he “agreed with Dr. Conway to write and issue individual prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled substances, which both I and Dr. Conway knew were not for legitimate medical purposes.” Hachemeister also admitted he “filled out prescriptions for oxycodone that Dr. Conway had pre-signed in advance,” and said, “All of my conduct in this regard was done specifically at Dr. Conway’s direction.”

According to the charges against Conway, who was one of 98 people arrested in a sweep in June 2012, he wrote more than 5,500 oxycodone prescriptions between January 2009 and November 2011, for a total of almost 800,000 pills. The indictment also accused Conway of writing prescriptions for people he never met, and charged that he prescribed 450 pills to Manzella only two days before he died in April 2011.

Have an opinion on this story? Send Letters to the Editor to cconnolly@liherald.com.

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WakeUpEveryone

It is outrageous that this MD can cop a plea. He is responsible for countless tragedies that are going on as we speak in our community. Can the addicts and families get a better deal? Can we downgrade our heartache to just a couple of days a week? This no good slime is personally responsible for causing hundreds, possibly thousands of addicts just for the almighty dollar. He preyed on our children and created addictions that will last a life time. Addictions that will follow the addicts and their families around each and every day. Addicts may get sober, but they will live with this for the rest of their lives. There families live with the fear each and everyday that their loved one will relapse. Can a mother make a deal and say "I'll just worry two days a week and the rest of the time I will be free of worry?" NOT A CHANCE.

This monster made an addict of MY SON. He wrote prescriptions to MY SON. He spent four years of his young life addicted to oxycontin and then progressed to heroin when he was so far into his addiction that desperation for that high put him in a place no ones child should be. Would he have ever done heroin if he never took a pill? Id say most likely not.

In our communities, 90% of our young people are either on these pills or heroin. That is not an exaggeration. This is the fact of our youth. THIS MONSTER TOOK PART IN THIS ASSAULT ON OUR CHILDREN.

He is going to get a deal? Will he even do anytime in prison? Maybe not because he has the money for a good lawyer. But we can continue to arrest and jail our young because they are hopelessly addicted to the substances this MONSTER prescribed. A lot of them don't have the money for representation so they get thrown in jail without treatment and just become even more disillusioned with life.

This doctor and his assistant (I don't care if he was acting on the doctors direction or not, HE DID IT TO) should both go to jail for a very long time. And THEIR families should pay the price just like our families do.

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