Press

Kearny pain doc sentenced for ‘pill mill’ sales and arson plot

A Kearny doctor who sold pain pills to Philadelphia street dealer – then tried to hire that man to torch his office building – has been sentenced to 5 1/2 years for both crimes.

Mudassar Sharif has been in jail since his in February of 2015. He’ll get credit for that time served.

He escaped any major fine in his sentencing in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia but the government seized $3,042 in cash that was in the center console of his Honda Pilot on the day of his arrest.

Last week’s federal sentencing brings to a close an unlikely tale of a doctor who drove from his Basking Ridge home to Philadelphia in 2012 to sell a pit bull to a customer he found on Craigslist. He ended up making monthly runs to sell the man both oxycodone pills and oxycodone prescriptions written in fabricated names.

Eventually he proposed hiring the man to burn down his Kearny office building, which housed other tenants as well as his own practice. In exchange, the doctor promised to pay the man in pills.

The plot was never executed, as Sharif was arrested shortly after that conversation. According to authorities, Sharif sought the destruction of patient records because he was having a billing dispute with Medicaid or Medicare.

“Dr. Sharif was extremely remorseful for what his conduct did to his family and his profession. His family is hopeful that he will some day be able to repay his debt to society by returning to be a leader in his community as he once was,” said his attorney Michael J. Diamondstein, after the sentencing.

He described his client as being extremely apologetic at his sentencing, and accepting responsibility for his actions.

Sharif pleaded guilty to one count of Attempted Malicious Damage by Means of Fire, and two counts of Distribution of Controlled Substances.

Friends and relatives wrote poignant letters to U.S. District Court Judge Joel H. Slomsky, begging for mercy for a man they said was a devoted father and caring physician. His wife said she and their two children were being evicted because she couldn’t afford the rent on her own.

“They lost their dad, now their home and community, and they can’t make sense out of anything,” wrote Sidneia Marques Sharif, a nurse who met her future husband when they worked along side each other in a hospital emergency room.

The sentence recommends Sharif participate in a residential drug and alcohol treatment program, which if completed, could reduce his sentence by a year, Diamonsten said.

“There is no indication he was using drugs,” Diamondstein added.

The sentence also requires Sharif to refrain from any gambling.

Sharif’s license to practice medicine was revoked for five years by the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners this past May.

Kathleen O’Brien may be reached at kobrien@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @OBrienLedger. Find NJ.com on Facebook.