Dr. Anthony J. Moschetto, a cardiologist who practiced on Long Island, New York, for more than 25 years, was described as “a hidden monster” by Nassau County police officials. Moschetto has been accused of trying to hire someone to harm a fellow cardiologist, Dr. Martin Handler, and burn down his office.
Moschetto pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, arson and other charges at his arraignment on April 15 and walked free after posting $2 million bail.
Randy Zelin, Moschetto's attorney, said the dispute started with a "business divorce" between Moschetto, 54, and Handler.
According to investigators, Moschetto hired two men to set fire to Handler’s office, but the plan was foiled by a sprinkler and resulted in minimal damage.
"He was willing to pay $5,000 to have him beaten and put in the hospital for a couple of months and pay $20,000 to have him killed," Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Anne Donnelly told the Associated Press about Moschetto. "He wanted to put him out of business so he could get his business.”
Moschetto had allegedly purchased oxycodone pills, heroin, blank prescriptions and two fully loaded assault weapons to use as currency for the would-be hit, which led authorities to investigate him.
“What started as a routine investigation into the sale of prescription drugs revealed itself to be an even graver and more complex case with very serious allegations involving arson, assault weapons and even a murder plot,” Acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement. “Doctors are supposed to ensure the health and well-being of people, but Dr. Moschetto is alleged to have replaced that responsibility with brazen, callous and criminal acts.”
Prosecutors said Moschetto paid an undercover police officer $500 to perform a hit and was caught on camera discussing the plot.
Authorities say they recovered weapons stashed in Moschetto’s home, although charges stemming from the find have not been announced. “He had enough weapons to provide a small army means to wreak harm,” Nassau County Police Department Acting Commissioner Thomas Krumpter told the Associated Press.
Moschetto is due back in court on April 17.
James Chmela, 44, and James Kalamaras, 41, have also been charged in the case for trying to start the fire in Handler’s office, which happened before the undercover investigation.
Image: Nassau County Police Department Via AP