Pill-Mill Docs Cynthia Cadet, Joseph Castronuovo Plead Not Guilty in Deaths
Doctors Cynthia Cadet and Joseph Castronuovo were charged last year, along with 30 others, in participating in the George brothers' South Florida pill-mill scheme that dished out millions of pain pills to patients from as far away as Ohio. So far, almost all of those people -- including both Christopher and Jeff George -- have reached plea deals. These two have not, and yesterday, they pleaded not guilty to charges that their prescriptions resulted in numerous deaths.
"The government is going to have a hell of a time," said Cadet's attorney Michael Weinstein, who, like Castronuovo's attorney, claims his client didn't do anything wrong. Cadet is accused of prescribing drugs that resulted in the overdose deaths of seven people; Castronuovo, in two.
Weinstein said it will be difficult to link Cadet, 42, of Parkland to any of the deaths. The prescriptions for powerful narcotics she wrote were medically justified, he said. It's not her fault if people abused them.
For what it's worth, numerous investigations and court cases have found there was nothing medically justified about the pain clinics, which catered overwhelmingly to out-of-state patients who used highly questionable MRI results to get rubber-stamp drug "cocktails" that were passed out generically for every patient. Doctors were paid by the patient to encourage them to move as many people through as possible; the George twins were at one point pulling in $50 grand a day.
Both doctors face life in prison if convicted; whether prosecutors can prove the pills came from those doctors -- and that the pills are what caused the deaths -- remains to be seen.
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