Nothing quite kicked a hole in the social fabric of South Florida than the pill mil craze of the early aughts. Back during the boom, it seemed like every strip mall in the tri-county area packed a pain clinic where you could scoop up weapons-grade pharmaceuticals.
Now, after a crack down, we're just starting to see the doctors writing all those easy-breezy 'scripts facing federal charges -- including a group of worst of the worst.
Wellington rich kid twins Chris and Jeff George operated a $40 million chain of pain clinics during the heights of the boom. In 2011, the pain clinic honchos were arrested along with over 30 doctors they employed.
Cue the rat race, with all involved -- including the kingpin George bros -- turning on one another. In particular, two doctors decided to fight the charges in a trial this year -- Cynthia Cadet and Joseph Castronuovo. As a result, other doctors lined up to testify against the pair, who were charged with the overdoses of eight former patients.
Now, arguably, the doctors turning state's witness had just as much blood on their hands from the enterprise as these two -- really even probably more. But because they cooperated, they were promised deals, proving once again that the US court system is less about justice than opportunity.
What did the heavy hand of the state get in that case? Pretty much nothing. Both Cadet and Castronuovo walked away with not guilty verdicts on all charges except for money laundering. The case was a huge loss for federal prosecutors.
Despite the outcome, that doesn't mean the doctors who decided to rat on their former co-workers didn't get what they were promised. The Palm Beach Post reports this week Judge Kenneth Marra slashed time from four doctors and four other George employees.
After serving 24 months, Dr. Patrick Graham was released. Dr. Vernon Atreidis got his 66 month sentence cut to 30 months. Dr. Beau Boshers' time was reduced from 78 months to 42. Dr. Roni Dreszer also had his 72 months dropped to 42.
Fair? Nope, not fair at all.
Send your story tips to the author, Kyle Swenson.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to New Times Broward-Palm Beach's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling South Florida's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism