» Tampa Pill Mill Operators Convicted

Tampa Pill Mill Operators Convicted

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 12, 2014 – Three operators of a Tampa pill mill have been convicted on dozens of charges. They now face years in Florida prisons.

Jorge Gonzalez-Betancourt, 53, and Michele Gonzalez, 37, owners of pain clinic First Medical Group, were convicted of charges including racketeering, trafficking in oxycodone and conspiring to traffic in oxycodone. Maureen Altman, 58, the clinic’s manager, was found guilty of charges including racketeering and conspiring to traffic in oxycodone. Many of the charges against the three carry a maximum prison sentence of up to 30 years.

Tampa pill mill attorney Robert Joyce said the conviction sends a clear message to pain clinic doctors and operators.

“The jury saw the harm that these three individuals have brought to Tampa, and they rendered a guilty verdict,” Mr. Joyce said. “The state of Florida has put pain clinics on notice. We are not going to tolerate pill mills in our communities.”

The verdict vindicates years of police and prosecution effort to prove that First Medical Group illegally prescribed and sold millions of doses of narcotic painkillers. Authorities said that each day, as many as 100 patients came to its strip-mall storefront on North Dale Mabry Highway. Many paid for their painkillers in cash, and some came from as far away as Kentucky and Ohio.

Dr. Kimberly Daffern was accused of single-handedly prescribing some 1 million oxycodone pills at the clinic in just three months. She died in 2011, before the trial began.

The trial lasted nearly five months. The prosecutors’ prospects for victory were not always bright. A civil judge gave a poor assessment of prosecutors’ evidence against the clinic. Near the end of the trial, another judge rejected more than half of the charges against the Gonzalezes.

Police raided First Medical in July 2010. But a civil judge soon ordered police to return nearly $250,000 to the Gonzalezes, ruling that police had not had probable cause to seize the money.

In the end, prosecutors, armed with expert analysis of clinic records and the testimony of many former customers of the clinic, were able to form a case strong enough to convince the jury.

Michelle Gonzalez’s attorney said the defendants would appeal.

Joyce and Reyes Law Firm, P.A.
307 S Hyde Park Ave
Tampa, FL 33606
Call: 813.251.2007


View Larger Map

  • In fee petition hearing, court acknowledges high value of attorney Robert Joyce’s skill
    In a recent fee petition hearing, a judge of the Hillsborough County Circuit Court acknowledged the high value of attorney Robert Joyce’s skill, stating that there are “only a few lawyers in town that I think are worth $600 an hour,” and that Mr. Joyce is one of them, due to his “astonishing” workmanship. The […]
  • Florida wrongful death lawsuit filed over prescription drug death
    A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in federal court by a Florida woman whose husband died of a brain hemorrhage after taking a prescribed anticoagulant drug. William Packard was prescribed Xarelto in January 2012 to treat a nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. In June 2012, Packard suffered a subdural hemorrhage, or hematoma. Excess blood collected between […]
  • Owners and manager of Tampa pill mill receive 30-year prison sentence
    The owners of what police say was the largest pill mill in Tampa were sentenced to 30 years in prison on September 19, after what was reported to be the longest trial in Hillsborough County’s history. Michele Gonzalez and Jorge Gonzalez-Betancourt were convicted of racketeering and drug trafficking charges in March. The married couple were […]
  • Wrongful death lawsuit filed by family of man who died in fall down elevator shaft
    After Chad Wolfe fell to his death down an elevator shaft at Tampa International Airport, his family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority and the company that built and maintained the elevator. The family filed the suit on September 26 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court. Wolfe was seen on airport […]
  • Football player’s brain injury sparks lawsuit against Hillsborough County School District
    The parents of a high school football player have filed a lawsuit against the Hillsborough County School District over a brain injury sustained by their son. In October 2013, Sean McNamee, a Wharton High School student, was injured during a game of catch with his teammates before football practice. McNamee jumped for a pass and […]

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , , ,



Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required