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Doctor pleads guilty in drug case

Matthew Bennett, 49, of Clarence, who was convicted of unlawfully distributing and dispensing oxycodone, a controlled substance, was sentenced to 36 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara on Monday. The defendant has also surrendered his medical license and forfeited $19,000 in United States currency, according to U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr.

“Through his greed, this defendant betrayed not only his profession but those patients who put their trust in him,” said Hochul. “While the vast majority of physicians act with care, our office will not hesitate to bring to justice those whose irresponsible actions can have deadly consequences, particularly with opiate overdoses being one of the leading causes of death in our region and country.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch, who handled the case, stated that on seven occasions between May and July 2012, Bennett issued prescriptions for controlled substances to undercover law enforcement officers without a proper medical examination and outside the norms of professional medical treatment. In addition, on several occasions, Bennett gave prescriptions to the undercover officers in exchange for items such as paper products and a gas grill.

Some of the prescriptions were written at the defendant’s office at 624 River Road in North Tonawanda but physical examinations were never performed. Other prescriptions were dispensed at Bennett’s home on Hunting Valley Road in Clarence.