Two South Florida Doctors Decline Plea Deals in Pill Mill Connected Murders

Drs. Cynthia Cadet, 42 and Joseph Castronuovo, 72 maintain their innocence. The two doctors who are each charged with 13 offenses related to prescribing drugs while working at the pain clinics that were operated by the now infamous twin brothers, Chris and Jeff George, are willing to face trial and take their chances before a jury.

The two doctors have declined plea deals that were offered and are now looking at possible sentences of life in prison because their prescription-writing of Oxycodone led to nine deaths, federal officials assert.

Since August 2011, eleven other doctors that were indicted in the same arrests have either pleaded guilty to money laundering or mail fraud in federal court. Most of them received five-year sentences.

Cadet is accused of contributing to the deaths of seven patients that she allegedly prescribed drugs to at the George brother clinics located in three Palm Beach County cities as well as several Broward County cities. Castronuovo is linked to two deaths, according to prosecutors.

It was in August 2011 when thirty-two individuals including thirteen doctors were rounded up by the FBI and charged with the illegal distribution of various drugs through the operation of “pill mills” which operated in Broward and Palm Beach County as well as generating sales through the Internet.

At the time, the indictment alleged that Chris and Jeffrey George, operated, managed and financed the following four pain management clinics in Broward and Palm Beach Counties: Executive Pain, American Pain, Hallandale Pain and the East Coast Pain clinics. From 2008 to early 2010, the George’s clinics dispersed in the area of 20 million oxycodone pills and generated more than $40 million of income from the sales of the controlled substance.

In Oct, 2011 Jeff George pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in connection with the death by overdose of one of the clients who frequented his “pill mill” pain clinics. In January 2012 he was sentenced to 15 1/2 years in prison. Three weeks later his brother Chris was given a 17 1/2-year sentence.

It was the testimony of Jeff that implicated all the other defendants associated with the case including arrests of his brother, mother, sister-in-law and a childhood friend. Cadet and Castronuovo were also named in his testimony.

Pleading leniency for his client, Jeff George’s attorney David Roth said to the Court; “In my 43 years of practicing law, I can’t remember any case where a defendant has cooperated knowing that as a result of his cooperation there was a high probability it would lead to the arrests of his mother and his brother. Mr. George, in street language, has come clean.”

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra wasn’t feeling Mr. Roth’s intriguing oratory and decided that his client deserved to spend a long time behind bars.

Oxycodone is the number one form of prescription, and sometimes illegally obtained drugs that are attributed to cause death by overdose. Heroin and cocaine combined don’t come close to the amount of overdose deaths caused by Oxycodone. It is categorized as a Schedule II narcotic. These categories have a high probability of initiating drug abuse and addiction. It can be ingested through the nose by sorting, or liquefied and then injected, to achieve an instantaneous high.

South Florida has been distinguished as the pill mill capital of the world according to Florida’s current Attorney General Pam Bondi. Dan Gelber, a former prosecutor and now a member of the Florida Senate, representing the 35th District said that the state (Florida) is the “Sam’s Club of prescription drugs.” Authorities aren’t surprised to find drugs put together and originating from Florida turning up in packages up and down the east coast. Florida has been acknowledged as the illicit prescription drug capital of the country by local, state and federal law enforcement officials, especially for oxycodone and oxycontin.

The penalties for any murder conviction can be extremely punitive and can result with a verdict of life in prison if a jury agrees with the prosecution’s recommendation. In some cases the acceptance of a plea deal can reduce the amount of years spent in prison and may be a more reasonable option than facing a trial where the penalty of a guilty verdict can be disastrous.

If you are being investigated for, or charged with a murder and are looking for a criminal defense attorney in the Broward, Dade, or Palm Beach County areas who specializes in the defense of these types of murder charges, Mr. Cohen’s office can provide you with the skilled representation you will need.

Mr. Cohen is a board certified criminal trial lawyer rated AV by Martindale Hubbel (pre-eminent) and a “Super Lawyer” recognized as being in the top 5% of his specialized field (criminal trial law) among Florida lawyers. He is considered a specialist by the Florida Bar in his field. Mr. Cohen has tried scores of cases over his 35 year career and is a member of the Florida and New York Bars. He practices in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami, among other counties. He is also admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh and Second Circuit.

Mr. Cohen’s practice has recently expanded and he is now a partner in the prestigious law firm of McLaughlin & Stern, LLP. Through this partnership, Mr. Cohen can now lead your defense in the New York Metropolitan area in addition to the Broward, Dade, or Palm Beach County areas as well as all other jurisdictions throughout the state of Florida
Mr. Cohen is also listed in the 2013 edition of “Best Lawyers in America

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