Proof that Broward is the pill-mill capital of the world: More arrests are being made. Within a six-month period in 2010, a doctor and seven of her employees at the now-defunct Real Care Medical Group in Plantation bought more than 430,000 oxycodone pills from wholesalers and sold them to patients. Some of those patients died, yet Real Care kept on pushing the pills, authorities say.
Dr. Lynn Averill, 64, and seven of her employees were arrested after a five-year investigation led by the DEA, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, and the Sunrise Police Department, Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office announced Wednesday.
Among the charges leveled against Averill and her employees are manslaughter and racketeering for what investigators say was a massive pill-mill operation being run between January and July 2010.
During the investigation, agents posed as patients and were sold pills without being given medical or physical examinations by anyone at Real Care Medical Group. The agents were able to purchase 720 oxycodone 30 mg tablets, 420 oxycodone 15 mg tablets, three 30ml liquid oxycodone 20mg/ml, 330 alprazolam 2mg tablets, and 30 Percocet tablets, authorities announced.
The DEA says Averill purchased nearly half a million pills of oxycodone from wholesalers, then sold patients prescriptions of alprazolam, methadone, and oxycodone without medical necessity. The pills were sold to patients for $1 to $5 per pill, according to the Office of Statewide Prosecution.
According to authorities, eight people died from overdosing on the pills. Averill continued to supply the pills even after knowing about the deaths.
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“We will not allow any doctors or clinic owners to knowingly abuse their positions by selling or delivering highly addictive controlled substances to patients with no medical necessity,” Attorney General Bondi said Wednesday during the announcement of the arrests.
“I applaud my Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sunrise Police Department for the great investigative work that led to these arrests,” Bondi added.
Among the others arrested and charged were Richard Philipoff, 33, of St. Cloud, Nikhil Bhasin, 28, of Warren, N.J., Calvin Bynum, 24, of Gainesville, Omar Lorden, 50, of Altamonte, Keith Petnel, 29, of Melbourne, Presmil Masson, 44, of Kissimmee, and Diana Philipoff, 32, of Melbourne. Authorities say Diane Philipoff set up bank accounts that received deposits and transfers from the Real Care Medical Group pain clinic in Plantaion and other clinics operated by Philipoff and Masson throughout Boca Raton, Jacksonville, and Orlando.
Averill is facing a maximum of 180 years in prison if convicted.