Friday, 25 June 2010 00:00
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that a North Hills cardiologist has been convicted of illegally installing a hidden camera in the office bathroom of his Manhasset doctor’s office to secretly view patients and employees without their knowledge.
Vincent Pacienza, 54, was found guilty on the felony charge of Unlawful Surveillance in the Second Degree. He faces up to four years in prison at his July 30 sentencing. In addition, Rice said the New York State Department of Health’s Office of Professional Medical Conduct could also suspend or revoke Pacienza’s medical license and he must also register as a sex offender for the next 10 years.
Rice said that in June 2008, Pacienza, a cardiologist who owns a medical practice in Manhasset, told some of his female employees that he would be installing an air purifier in the office restroom that was shared by both employees and patients. Pacienza also closed down the employees-only bathroom, forcing everyone in the office to use the bathroom with the air purifier, Rice stated.
Unbeknownst to all except Pacienza, however, the air purifier, which faced the toilet, contained a hidden wireless camera with a direct video feed to a monitor underneath Pacienza’s desk, Rice said. The camera was discovered that same month when an employee opening the office mail discovered an invoice to Pacienza for the hidden camera and air purifier from a website specializing in surveillance equipment. Pacienza was arrested on June 13, 2008 by detectives from the Nassau County Police Department’s Sixth Squad. Sixth Precinct officers and the NCPD Electronics Squad executed a search warrant and recovered a wireless transmitting camera, a receiver and monitor.
“This defendant completely betrayed the trust of his employees, many of whom worked him for many years,” Rice said. “I will always protect the community from any individual, such as Dr. Pacienza, who exploits and violates the privacy rights of others.
Assistant District Attorney Brian Heid, Deputy Bureau Chief Anne Donnelly and Special ADA Guido Gabriele III of the Economic Crimes Bureau handled the case for the District Attorney’s Office. Pacienza is represented by Dennis Lemke, Esq. and Tom Gulotta, Esq.