I-Team: Was Pignataro name change in Florida illegal?

May have broken law with false address
Posted at 11:42 PM, Jul 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 17:55:22-04

When Anthony Pignataro walked free from state prison in 2013, his reputation was at an all-time low.

“I'm surprised he's able to show his face in Western New York,” Teri LaMarti said of her former doctor.

LaMarti is one of Pignataro's many victims who worries the West Seneca doctor who was jailed two decades ago for poisoning his wife and killing a patient is now back in health care -- without a medical license.

“He'll do it till the day he dies,” LaMarti said. “He'll try to get away with whatever he can.”

A 7 Eyewitness News I-Team investigation revealed Pignataro tried to change his name to Anthony Haute in Erie County Court.

Law enforcement in Erie County blocked that effort but new documents obtained by 7 Eyewitness News show Pignataro tried the same thing in Florida -- and succeeded. He told the court he lived in a home near Sarasota that is owned by his brother, Steven A. Pignataro.

Prosecutors are trying to prove Pignataro was seeing patients illegally, but 7 Eyewitness News legal expert Florina Altshiler said they may also be able to get Pignataro for lying when he changed his name.

“If he was not living there at the time, then he could be charged with a crime of filing a false document because that document was filed with the court and he certified it as true,” Altshiler said.

On the name change application, Pignataro admits he served jail time for his two felony convictions. He even lists the address of his West Seneca office and appears to have filed the form by mail from New York.

“It's odd, for sure,” Altshiler said. “The question is, what if any connection does he have to that Florida address? is it really just his brother's address where he has never lived, in which case that would be false, or...is it an address that he resided at part-time?”

Neither Pignataro nor his brother in Florida responded to our phone calls and emails, but if Pignataro really was living in Florida, he should be able to provide proof of residency like mail, a driver's license, utility bills or property records.

“I suspect that he has none of that because he lists the business in West Seneca, he lists an address in West Seneca, so it's suspect that he lists a Florida address,” Altshiler said. “He's operating a business under potentially suspicious circumstances in Erie County.”

Prosecutors say they need your help with their investigation. If you or someone you know has been treated by “Dr. Haute” or Dr. Pignataro in the last few years, contact the Erie County District Attorney’s Office at (716) 858-2451 or the State Education Department at (716) 842-6604.