Southern Brooklyn

DEA, NYPD Bust $3.4 Million Rx Drug Ring In Sheepshead Bay

Source: @Doug88888/Flickr

Authorities from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and NYPD busted a trafficking ring accused of setting up phony Sheepshead Bay medical practices to dole out prescriptions for highly addictive drugs, including oxycodone and Xanax.

Following a nine-month wiretap investigation, authorities yesterday said they arrested five members of the prescription drug trafficking ring that illegally raked in $3.4 million in bogus prescription drug sales through medical practices they controlled.

Sergey Plotits, 50, of Brightwater Court, was named as the ring leader and charged with conspiracy in the fourth degree and 16 counts of criminal sale of a prescription or controlled substance. According to the indictment, Plotits established medical offices in Sheepshead Bay and nearby neighborhoods for the sole purpose of illegally distributing large quantities of the highly addictive narcotics.

Plotits allegedly hired Zhanna Kanevsky to work as a physician and write prescriptions at a medical office he established at 1763 East 12th Street, then recruited three additional defendants – Rostislav Vilshteyn, Emil Shumunov and Alla Kuratova – to recruit phony patients. The patients were rarely examined by the doctors, and were paid in cash for obtaining prescriptions, prosecutors say.

Four of the five were arrested yesterday morning, and agents seized medical records in a raid on Kanevsky’s Staten Island home.

According to the indictment, the conspiracy ran from August 2011 to the present, with the defendants collecting and distributing more than 180,000 prescription plls, including approximately 170,000 pills of oxycodone, a painkilling opiate similar to heroin, and 12,000 pills of Xanax, an addictive anti-anxiety medication. Some of the prescriptions were redeemed at local pharmacies using taxpayer-funded Medicaid coverage, prosecutors say.

According to local police, prescription drug abuse in the precinct remains on the rise since 2009 – particularly for painkillers like oxycodone. The narcotic problem is said by police to be one of the leading factors driving other crimes, particularly robbery, burglary, auto break-ins and other property crimes, as the expensive habit spurs addicts to look for easy money.

“Some of these individuals need up to 10 [pills] a day,” said Deputy Inspector Georgios Mastrokostas, former commander of the 61st Precinct, at a community meeting last year. “So you’re talking about a habit where they need $200 a day to support this habit.”

Although no other busts were made in this case, the papers indicate that investigators believe Plotits operates other clinics and employs other doctors for the same scheme, and that doctors were paid by Plotits by the hour or by the day.

Kanevsky is accused of working with the ring for the 17 months leading up to May 2013, writing the majority of the phony presriptions – approximately 100,000 pills of oxycodone and 5,000 pills of Xanax – with a street value of $2 million.

It’s not her first offense, either. In 2005, Kanevsky was busted for her role in a Queens-based no-fault auto insurance fraud ring, in which she was the owner of record for East Elm Medical and Balance for Life Medical Diagnostic. The clinics evaluated phony patients claiming to have been hurt in auto accidents and provided false medical reports backing up their supposed injuries in order to bilk insurance companies. She pleaded guilty and was given a year of probation, while the State Board of Medical Conduct put her medical license on probation for three years.

Similarly, another defendant in the case, Rostislav “Steve” Vilshteyn of Staten Island, was sentenced in 2012 to five years in New Jersey state prison and ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution after being convicted for defrauding Medicaid. Vilshteyn was the owner and operator of the Bloomfield Health Pavilion, a medical clinic that submitted fraudulent medical claims for counseling services he never provided.

UPDATE (4:43 p.m.): We were curious why Vilshteyn was out roaming the streets of Sheepshead Bay, looking for phony patients, when he should have been serving the first year of his five year sentence in New Jersey state prison. So we got in touch with the New Jersey Department of Corrections, who got in touch with the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, and, lo’ and behold, Vilshteyn was released pending an appeal.

The Department of Corrections told Sheepshead Bites that the judge and the attorney general will be notified of the latest arrest.

Comment policy


  1. I hope every single of those assholes goes to prison for decades!!!! And in the end get deported!!!!

  2. not going to happen: just look what that Kanevsky got for defrauding the insurance companies – one year probation and got to keep her medical license.

  3. I could never understand why someone who went through all that schooling to become a doctor would put it all at risk…

  4. Vilshteyn is now guaranteed an extended sentence thanks to Sheepshead Bites. That’s like real reporting there. 😉

    Good job guys!

  5. these russian doctors didn’t go thru as much schooling as an american-educated doctor. back in the day, the u.s. would recognize foreign medical degrees, and these russian doctors would take a few exams and skip college and medical school altogether. so defrauding the system is a high risk high reward thing for them. i hope they all get life in prison, that’ll set everyone straight

  6. When I asked my doctor for a prescription for xanax, just to calm my nerves at that time things going on in my life, she said we don’t prescribe that…..go figure??!!!

  7. The people who assisted these so called doctors and got paid to get the Rx’s should have their Medicare/Medicaid revoked and also be arrested, tried, sent to jail, and then deported!

  8. do you always believe what your told because in facts america isnt even in the top 20 most educated countries which go through schooling.

  9. You are one dumb, uneducated son of bia*ch. Not only Soviet education system is far superior to American, it is a known fact that most Soviet immigrants dominated the top graduating class in most high schools in Brooklyn in our neighborhood in the 90’s (after last wave of Russian immigration). In schools like Lincoln, FDR, Lafayette, Madison, Midwood, Murrow you would see only Soviet educated students lead the way.

    Hate all you want but one thing all of us Soviets know is that some of us are a lot more educated and intelligent than most Americans.

    Take this from a Sheepshead Bay real estate owner for 10+ years that has a full time job, pays taxes and doesnt participate in any criminal activity. Just because you see an ethnic group as a whole succeed dont judge all of us the same. Soviets improved Brighton Beach from what it was in the 70’s, we moved and contributed to the improvement of Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, Manhattan Beach, Midwood, Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge, Mill Basin, etc. For every bad thing you say about Soviets in these neighborhoods there are thousands of law abiding citizens that pay taxes, work high level jobs. You hate on us because of your failures. Just because you still rent when you are in yours 50’s and you see young Soviets in their 20’s with their owns condo’s doesnt mean we cheated the system. Education plays an important piece, even for those who choose to engage in criminal activities.

    Sincerly yours,

    Soviet Power 2013

  10. dumb fuck, did i say a word about american-educated soviets? i commend russian (russian jews) that went to school, worked their ass off and now hold high end jobs, I am disgusted by the russians that come to the country, start stealing money without knowing a word of english, end up driving a mercedes while being on medicaid and foodstamps. further more, my origins are in the soviet union.
    there are plenty of russians that are now successful because of hard work, and dedication, they are also successful because they did not cheat the system. the russian stigma is to cheat and rob, and i hate the “doctors” that come to the country, and charge medicaid and medicare millions of dollars.

  11. sure perhaps public schooling, and even “some” undergrads, but if you’re talking about medicine, pharmacy, engineering (especially engineering), scientific research, etc, then we are easily top 3 in the world.

  12. why dont you worry about your own dirty laundry… people like herd..the real crooks akak law makers, poloticians and cops

  13. […] After picking up three suspects earlier this year, and aided by a nine-month wiretap investigation, authorities unraveled a multi-tier prescription drug and cocaine ring that tied together three separate conspiracies across the two boroughs. Among the 11 arrested, five were residents of the Sheepshead Bay area, and one was supplied by the same allegedly crooked doctor picked up in this week’s other big bust. […]

  14. Just because someone has a “foreign” last name doesn’t mean they are illegal aliens. Most of these people have been living in the country longer than you have been alive. Deporting people is not the solution to every problem.

  15. It is simply amazing reading all the ignorant comments. When will people learn not to stereotype? So I guess the way you are thinking means that all African American people are criminals and all Hispanic people are drug addicts and all Chinese people can’t drive? That is so far from the reality. Stop the stupidity and the ignorance. There are black sheep’s in every group. You are reading about Russians because it’s Sheepshead Bay Bites and Russians are one of the majorities in that area. This does not mean all of the Russians, regardless if they are American schooled or otherwise are criminals or participate in any illegal activity. The bottom line is that people do stupid things for stupid reasons. I am of a Russian background but personally glad that people like that are brought to justice. It is not fare to judge the entire ethnic group just because one a$$hole make a mistake. New York is the melting pot…. sometimes we get a winner and sometimes just a dull knife in the draw….

  16. I can pass them a few more names. Im Russian and Im tired of this scum giving my culture a horrible name.

  17. What is really sad about all this is when you have a legit problem and NEED a strong painkiller or sedative and go to a good Dr. it is almost impossible to get anything stronger than a Tylenol because of all these jerks! Seems you have to know who the “dope” Dr.’s are to get any help- or go to the emergency room and spend thousands of dollars and hours in pain waiting!! These Dr.’s have really messed things up for all the hard working people out there that don’t have drug habits. They actually tried to start me off on Tylenol for kidney stones- I threatened homicide and finally got something stronger-until I was scheduled for surgery three days later- INSANE!! But if I knew one of these Dr.s I could just walk in hand over my cash and get my little script for 120 pills for a headache!! instead of getting 10 pills for extreme pain and having to fight for them!! toss them all in jail and let the people get real meds when they really do need them rather when they just want a free high!!

  18. All you people are pussy and all you people are immigrants just because you finally got your paper bot you act like your a citizen all ya are immigrants pussy everyone we need drugs drugs run the streets all you regular people that wrote bad stuff you will suffer


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