Great Neck doctor pleads guilty in murder-for-hire case

Great Neck doctor pleads guilty in murder-for-hire case

A Great Neck cardiologist pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges that he contracted with hitmen to kill his former business partner. 

Anthony Moschetto, 56, of Sands Point, pleaded guilty to first-degree criminal possession of a weapon, first-degree criminal sale of a prescription for a controlled substance, third-degree arson and fourth-degree conspiracy. 

“In public, Moschetto was a respected member of his community, but in private he collected dangerous assault weapons, illegally sold prescription drugs to fund his arsenal, and plotted to murder another cardiologist over a business disagreement,” Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “Working with the Nassau County Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration, we were able to stop Moschetto’s sordid ambitions before anyone was killed or injured.” 

Moschetto once worked at the practice with Dr. Martin Handler, whom he  tried to have killed, the prosecutor said.

Singas said the two “had a business dispute, a professional dispute that ultimately caused him to want to hurt him.”

According to the DA’s office, prosecutors recommended that Moschetto be sentenced to 12 years in prison, but Supreme Court Justice Christopher Quinn committed to a sentence of five years in prison with five years of post-release supervision.

Singas said officials had been investigating a high frequency of Oxycodone prescriptions Moschetto had been writing when they discovered a link between the cardiologist and an unsolved arson plot in Great Neck last February.

Following Moschetto’s arrest last April, investigators discovered a weapons cache of more than 100 guns and various knives, swords, axes and a hand grenade in a secret room in his Sands Point home that was controlled by a switch-activated bookshelf. 

Singas said some of the weapons found by investigators were illegal, but Moschetto did own some legal weapons.

The investigation began following various drug purchases by undercover Nassau County Police and Drug Enforcement Agency officers that were then linked to Moschetto.

As the deals progressed, prosecutors said, officers began purchasing weapons, and during a sale on Jan. 22, the seller requested dynamite needed to blow up a building. 

Weeks later, the seller said the dynamite was no longer needed because fire was set to the building instead.

Moschetto was accused of hiring James Chmela, 43, and James Kalamaras, 41, to burn down Heart Diagnostic Imaging at 38 Northern Blvd. in Great Neck, on Feb. 25, 2015. 

Kalamaras was found not guilty in May, while Chmela was indicted in April and faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top charge of felony second-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

No future court date is available, according to the DA’s office.

According to the DA’s office, Moschetto admitted in court Tuesday to providing money for arson and assault, how and where the assault should take place, information on the intended victim’s whereabouts and possessing  more than 10 illegal weapons. 

Quinn will order that all of Moschetto’s illegal weapons be destroyed and all of his legal weapons be turned over to a federal firearms license holder. 

His medical license and DEA prescribing privileges have been suspended as a result of his plea, the DA’s office said. 

Bail was continued at $2 million bond or $1.25 million cash payment. He is due back in court for sentencing on Dec. 16. 

By Joe Nikic

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