leifertlaw April 13, 2012 Drug Crimes
A Davie man, identified in media reports as a “pill mill magnate,” has pleaded guilty to a host of drug charges in Broward County, and could serve as much as two decades behind bars.
Our Broward County criminal defense attorneys know that federal, state and local officials have been on a war path when it comes to pain clinics across the state. A great deal of press has been given to the “epidemic” of prescription pain killer addiction, and officials have used the term “pill mills” to describe even legal clinics working to serve patients with legitimate pain issues.
While the patients themselves have been the target of many law enforcement efforts, the owners and operators of these clinics have also found themselves in the legal cross hairs of prosecutors.
In this case, a 43-year-old pain clinic operator has pleaded guilty to a host of crimes, including money laundering and tax fraud. In exchange for his testimony against other individuals in the case, prosecutors have agreed to a stiff, 20-year sentence, which could wind up being less depending on how useful his testimony proves.
Prosecutors alleged that among several clinics in Miami-Dade and Broward, he dispensed nearly 700,000 oxycodone pain tablets, raking in a profit of roughly $22 million between 2008 and 2011. In order to bring in patients, the operator reportedly purchased and ran some 1,600 websites. Customers were made to pay in cash, with a payment of $250 for the first visit and $200 for each subsequent visit. Patients who were coming in from out of state had to pay higher rates.
In some instances, patients were made to undergo MRI tests for between $100 and $500. These tests, according to prosecutors, weren’t medically legitimate, but rather a scam which would give patients VIP status in obtaining pills. It’s also alleged that staff at the clinics forged urine tests that would validate a patient’s need for the prescriptions.
The clinic operator reportedly posted advertisements for doctors on Craigslist, retaining only those who were on board with plans to prescribe large quantities of pills.
Defense attorneys had argued that the clinic operator rarely was involved with the day-to-day operations of the clinic, and had hired what he believed to be a capable management staff.
Many local municipalities and counties have passed recent legislation, limiting the number of pain clinics that can operate in a given area and restricting the qualifications for owners and the scope of the operation.
Then last year, the state legislature passed Pill mill magnate pleads guilty, will hand over $12 million, By Paula McMahon, Sun Sentinel
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