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Lewis County doctor facing federal charges for peddling oxycodone

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LOWVILLE — A Lewis County General Hospital orthopedic surgeon is facing federal charges after being charged with unlawful distribution of oxycodone.

Jeffrey C. Gundel, M.D., is accused of providing oxycodone prescriptions to people whom he never examined or met, according to a news release from James J. Hunt, acting special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian.

As part of the investigation, an undercover agent received four 240-count, 30-milligram oxycodone prescriptions without ever meeting Dr. Gundel.

According to the arrest report, Dr. Gundel exchanged prescriptions for a payment of $2,400 for each prescription. When Dr. Gundel wrote these prescriptions, he knew that by doing so he was violating the law and generally accepted medical practice, authorities said.

Dr. Gundel began seeing patients at Lewis County General in December, relocating from his private practice in Saratoga Springs that he had operated since 2007.

“Effective May 6, as an immediate and temporary measure, Dr. Gundel will no longer be seeing patients or conducting surgeries at the facility. Following the hospital learning of the charges, Dr. Gundel has been suspended,” hospital spokeswoman Christina M. Flint said. “The situation revolving around Dr. Gundel’s suspension has nothing to do with patient contact here at Lewis County General Hospital. We have not been contacted or made aware of any issues here, but we will cooperate with local, state and federal authorities if requested.”

In 2010, Dr. Gundel was charged with assaulting his 35-year-old niece after she accused him of mistreating two elderly women, her mother and an aunt, who were both in his care. Records of that case were sealed in the town of Wilton Court, Saratoga County.

Following an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel after Tuesday’s arrest, Dr. Gundel was released on conditions. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $1 million and a term of supervised release.

The investigation is being conducted by the DEA Albany office Tactical Diversion Squad, the state Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and the state Office of Financial Services.

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