BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A radiologist with Diagnostic Imaging Associates in Amherst was arrested at his office Wednesday morning.
Federal authorities have charged Dr. Albert Cowie, 36, with writing 280 illegal prescriptions for controlled substances.
“Dr. Cowie was essentially a drug dealer disguised as a doctor,” said DEA Resident Agent in Charge Michelle Spahn.
Prosecutors say Dr. Cowie was engaged in illegal activity for about four years, beginning in 2010.
“The improper handling of prescription pills is like giving a loaded gun a felon,” said U.S. Attorney William Hochul.
In the federal complaint, a cooperating witness says Dr. Cowie prepared a spreadsheet detailing drug sale proceeds at thirty to forty dollars a pill. Prescriptions were allegedly going for $200.
Hochul said, “Sometimes the people to whom he gave the prescriptions went out, filled it, and the brought back a portion of the drugs for Dr. Cowie’s own use.”
Another witness said she engaged in sexual acts with Dr. Cowie in the doctor’s patient waiting room, at a time when the office was closed.
According to the complaint, the woman worked at a strip club in Cheektowaga and alleges that Dr. Cowie once injected her with heroin at Cowie’s Amherst residence. She says he provided her $200 a day to support her addiction.
The charges came as a surprise, according to Dr. Michael Landi, CEO of Invision Health, the umbrella company of Diagnostic Imaging Associates.
Landi said Cowie has been an “outstanding member” of the staff.
“Most of these events occurred before Dr. Cowie joined Invision Health,” said Landi. “To my knowledge Dr. Cowie has always conducted himself professionally.”
Landi said Cowie may be placed on administrative leave, and was concerned about the doctor’s health. Cowie is out on $25,000 bail.
“To the best of my knowledge his medical license would still be valid, so in the eyes of New York State he still would be able to practice his profession,” the attorney representing him in federal court Wednesday, Sunil Bakshi, said
Michelle Spahn of the DEA said “Dr. Cowie allegedly utilized his position to fuel the growing addiction problem that is plaguing our communities.”
Charges against Dr. Cowie carry a maximum penalty of twenty years in prison, a million dollar fine, or both.
Dr. Cowie pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Federal Court.