Friday, April 4, one South Florida doctor was sentenced by a federal judge to a six-year prison sentence, and another was sentenced to 18 months in prison, says the Associated Press. They were convicted of money laundering that involved the prescribing of narcotics such as oxycodone pills. The two had been arrested in 2010 during investigations into "pill mills", where they were said to have worked at cash-only clinics that were involved in the one of the largest illegal prescription drug schemes in the country. The clinic managers are already serving years in prison. According to prosecutors, the clinics made $40 million dollars in two years, and that their clientele included dealers and prescription drug addicts from several different states. Prosecutors in the case said that the doctor who received the longer sentence made $1.5 million in the span of about 15 months, having given out prescriptions for 2.5 oxycodone pills in that time. The other doctor was said to have issued prescriptions for over 750,000 pills and profited $160,000 in less than 12 months.
Prior Acquittals and the Defense's Arguments
The two physicians will both file appeals, their lawyers have said. The two had previously been acquitted by a federal jury on charges related to the deaths of patients who had overdosed. The charges of money laundering stuck, however, and the defendants were looking at up to 10 years in prison. Around thirty other doctors had been charged in the case, and these two were the only ones to refuse a plea bargain. Their legal defense teams had asserted that the two physicians had issued prescriptions in the sincere confidence that they were assisting patients who suffered intense pain.
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