A Long Island doctor who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone was sentenced Friday to 50 months in prison in federal court in Central Islip.
Dr. Noel Blackman also was ordered to forfeit $536,000, fined $15,000, and ordered to serve 3 years’ supervised release, if he is not deported to Guyana, by U.S. District Judge Joanna Seybert. Blackman, 69, lived in Valley Stream and had practiced in Franklin Square, Elmhurst in Queens and Cypress Hills in Brooklyn.
In imposing sentence, Seybert said that despite his commendable history of earning a medical degree and doing charitable work in the metropolitan area and in his native Guyana, Blackman “chose to do something pretty terrible.” Noting that Blackman had earned a good living, the judge said: “This was driven by greed.”
Before he was sentenced, Blackman, who had been minister of health in Guyana and had not become a U.S. citizen despite his years of working in the United States, said that standing up while performing surgery had taken its toll on his body and so he had turned to pain management that was more sedentary.
In that specialty, Blackman said he was “out of my comfort zone . . . lost my moral compass.”
“I express my greatest remorse . . . to the people of America,” Blackman said. “I’m extremely sorry for my actions.”
Blackman also was listed as executive dean of academic affairs at the Georgetown American University medical school in Guyana when he was arrested in February 2016.
Eastern District federal prosecutor Bradley King said in court, “We all make choices. . . . This defendant added to the ravages of oxycodone addiction on Long Island.”
Blackman’s attorney, John Bergendahl of Miami, said afterward that he wished the judge had imposed a lesser sentence but added that it was a complex situation.
Federal sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of 57 months to 71 months, though they are not mandatory.
Defense attorney Bergendahl had requested a sentence of 36 months or less.
The government had asked for the maximum of 71 months.
In pleading guilty in August, Blackman admitted getting cash in return for writing prescriptions for oxycodone for patients who had no medical need for them.
Blackman was arrested at Kennedy Airport after federal agents ordered a plane he was on taxiing for takeoff to turn back. The plane was bound for Guyana, whose extradition treaty with the United States was unclear and being renegotiated.
Blackman did not admit any guilt at the time, but told agents “it was possible that some of his patients were addicted to Oxycodone, and that he charged approximately $300 to see patients at his ‘pain management’ practice,” according to court papers. The papers also stated Blackman had said “that he typically saw approximately 100 patients per day, which he estimated was about one patient every six minutes.”
The $536,000 was about the money Blackman made for writing more than 2,400 prescriptions for 365,000 oxycodone pills in 2015 and 2016, officials said.