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Brian Luke Community Blogger, WGRZ-TV

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Four More Defendants Sentenced in Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Pill Mill Operation


Four Additional Defendants Sentenced Today in Operation Oxy Alley

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division; and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), announced the sentencing of four additional defendants in connection with charges stemming from Operation Oxy Alley, a coordinated investigation into pill mills in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Including the four defendants sentenced today, 16 defendants have been sentenced to date on an indictment unsealed on August 23, 2010, which charged 32 defendants. The indictment alleged that defendants Christopher and Jeffrey George, twin brothers, operated, managed, and financed four pain management clinics in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. According to the indictment and statements made in court, from 2008 to early 2010, these pill mills distributed approximately 20 million oxycodone pills and made more than $40 million from the illegal sales of controlled substances. Thirteen of the 32 defendants were doctors.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer stated, “Thanks to the hard work of our federal and local partners, dangerous pill mills have been shut down and the owners, operators, and doctors have been sent to jail. We will continue to aggressively prosecute those who deal drugs hiding behind a medical or professional license.”
“South Florida is no longer a haven for those who illegally distribute pain killers and steroids through pill mills,” said Miami FBI Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies. “Our joint operation with over a dozen federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have shut down this criminal organization that ran four pain clinics, two pharmacies, one pharmaceutical supplier and one steroid business.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark Trouville stated, “The sentences handed down today represent the seriousness of the prescription drug epidemic in South Florida and the United States. DEA remains committed to ridding our communities of illegally diverted pharmaceutical drugs.”
IRS Special Agent in Charge José A. Gonzalez stated, “By following the money trail, IRS Special Agents were successful in financially disrupting and dismantling this illegal organization. Not only are these criminals going to jail, but the government has seized a significant portion of the illegal proceeds through asset forfeiture. IRS-CI will continue to lend its financial expertise to target the profit and financial gains of narcotics traffickers and their accomplices.”
Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra sentenced four defendants. Christopher Paul George, 30, of Wellington, was sentenced to 210 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Ethan Baumhoff, 40, of Fort Lauderdale, was sentenced to 132 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. George and Baumhoff plead guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy in October 2011. Daniel Hauser, M.D., 61, of Hollywood, was sentenced to six months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release. Roni Dreszer, M.D., 36, of Sunny Isle Beach, was sentenced to 72 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release. Hauser and Dreszer plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in October 2011.
At present, 28 of the 32 defendants named in the indictment have pleaded guilty, including clinic owners Christopher and Jeffrey George. The sentencing hearings are scheduled to continue throughout February 2012.
The investigation and prosecution was the result of work by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. FBI, DEA, IRS-CID were assisted by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Hollywood Police Department, the Boca Raton Police Department, and the Davie Police Department. Coordination efforts also included cooperation by the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office as well as contributions by the Delray Beach Police Department, Jupiter Police Department, West Palm Beach Police Department, Boynton Beach Police Department, Medley Police Department, Homestead Police Department, North Miami Beach Police Department, and Sunny Isles Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul F. Schwartz, Lawrence D. LaVecchio and Strider Dickson.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.
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