Two South Florida doctors charged with doling out painkillers at ‘pill mills’

A pair of South Florida doctors have been charged with filling out thousands of unlawful painkiller prescriptions at two Hialeah clinics that federal authorities say were “pill mills” that accepted only cash.

Recruiters brought patients to the clinics so they could receive prescriptions for painkillers such as Oxycodone, federal prosecutors said Thursday. Those same recruiters paid the patients’ medical fees, let them keep some of the painkillers and then resold the remainder of the unlawfully dispensed drugs on the black market, prosecutors said.

Dr. Victor H. Espinosa, 57, of Fort Lauderdale, was charged with conspiring to dispense painkillers for no legitimate purpose at East Medical Office in Hialeah, according to a criminal complaint.

Between August 2017 and May 2018, Espinosa prescribed 119,534 Oxycodone tablets, the complaint said. That accounted for 99 percent of all controlled substances he prescribed at East Medical.

Others charged in a related case are East Medical’s co-owners, David Bosch and Tania Sanchez, along with assistants Ledif Acanda Machado and Odalys Abreu.

In an indictment, Dr. Rodolfo Gonzalez-Garcia, 65, of Weston, was charged with a similar unlawful painkiller dispensing scheme at West Medical Office in Hialeah. Others named in the indictment are the physician’s wife, Arlene Gonzalez, also of Weston, Sucett Lopez of Hialeah, Annie Suarez-Gonzalez of Illinois, and Fidel Marrero-Castellanos of Miami.

Both physicians had their first appearances in Miami federal court on Thursday and are awaiting arraignment. Their pretrial detention hearings are set for Tuesday.

The cases, investigated by the Justice Department’s Medicare Fraud Strike Force, are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Gilfarb and Brian Shack.