NY doctor and wife who appeared on Bravo’s ‘Below Deck’ charged with fake opioid prescription scheme
Dec 14, 2023, 12:37 PM
NEW YORK (AP) — A doctor and his wife who appeared on the Bravo reality series “Below Deck” were arraigned on drug charges in New York on Thursday for allegedly filling out bogus opioid prescriptions using the names of cast members from the show.
Urologist Francis Martinis and his wife, Jessica Martinis, of Fort Salonga, New York, were each charged with criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance by a practitioner and falsifying business records.
Francis Martinis, 55, and Jessica Martinis, 38, appeared in state court in Riverhead on Long Island after first being arrested in May. They both pleaded not guilty, according to their attorney. The couple were released without bail and are due back in court Jan. 25.
Prosecutors said Francis Martinis transmitted prescriptions for the opioid drug oxycodone to Long Island pharmacies with the names of “Below Deck” cast members listed as the purported patients. Jessica Martinis then picked up the drugs and paid in cash, prosecutors said.
Jessica Martinis first raised red flags in January 2023 when she tried to fill a handwritten prescription for oxycodone in someone else’s name, prosecutors said.
An investigation turned up evidence of numerous fake oxycodone prescriptions that Francis Martinis had written with the names of cast members from the reality show, authorities said.
None of the oxycodone was actually intended for the people named in the prescriptions, prosecutors said.
“Physicians are held to a high standard, as they take an oath to uphold a number of professional ethical standards when they begin their careers,” Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney said in a statement. “The conduct Dr. Martinis allegedly engaged in with his wife not only violated this oath, but it also violated the law.”
Frank Tarentino, the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s special agent in charge for New York, said, “These arrests are a reminder that a doctor’s illicit drug diversion can lead to irreparable harm like the drug overdoses and poisonings currently plaguing our nation.”
The couple’s attorney, Peter Crusco, called the charges bogus.
“My clients have pled not guilty and are presumed innocent, and look forward to their day in court to clear their names,” Crusco said in a text message.
“Below Deck,” which premiered on Bravo in 2013, follows crew members on board a luxury yacht and the passengers they cater to.
The Martinises appeared on the spinoff “Below Deck Mediterranean” in 2019, and Francis Martinis also appeared on “Below Deck Sailing Yacht” the following year.
A representative for NBCUniversal, Bravo’s parent company, declined to comment.