Steven Goodman of St. Petersburg, Florida was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud on March 28, according to a press release by the Southern District of Florida United States Attorney's Office. Goodman faces the federal charges in connection to the alleged massive pill mill operation headed by twins Jeffrey and Christopher George, who are currently on trial. It is not clear whether Goodman is eligible to receive bail bond or has retained a private criminal defense attorney.
According to the release, an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and Broward, Palm Beach, Boca Raton and other local police departments resulted in the charge against Goodman. Goodman is a pharmaceutical wholesaler and the former owner and operator of Medical Arts Pharmacy, Inc. of St. Petersburg, FL.
The indictment accuses Goodman of using U.S. mail to ship large amounts of prescription drugs to the George brothers without following federal regulations. Pharmaceutical wholesalers are required to make sure that they are not selling to pill mills. Since the allegation involves the U.S. postal service, the charge is federal.
The George brothers are currently undergoing trial in connection to their alleged operation, which authorities believe brought in $40 million. So far 32 people have been charged in the case, including the George brothers' mother, who allegedly stashed $4.5 million in cash from the operation in safes in her home. 27 so far have pled guilty as charged.
The charges come in connection to four pain management clinics that the George brothers allegedly ran in Palm Beach and Broward counties from 2008 to 2010. The 30-year-old pair, neither of whom have medical degrees, were allegedly able to open the clinics without much trouble. The operation employed a total of five licensed doctors, each of who was paid based on how many prescriptions they wrote out. The doctors reportedly saw around 250 patients a day. The indictment mentioned that the brothers used brazen advertising methods for the clinics, hiring a bikini model for promotional purposes and encouraging out-of-state customers.
Each clinic was wildly successful and allegedly made about $50,000 in cash a day. The prescription drugs sold through the operation are suspected to number in the tens of millions and be responsible for at least 56 overdose deaths. Jeffrey George has actually been charged with the murder of Joey Bartolucci, who is suspected to have died as a result of overdose of pills acquired through the pill mill operation.
The 14-month investigation into the twins' activities revealed that they spent millions on expensive cars including a Lamborghini and a monster truck, lavish homes decked out with flat-screen TVs, and a boat. It also found that the operation involved known gang members and criminals.
The incident has led to questions about a lack of security in Florida law, especially since Chris George was able to open the pain clinics without problems despite the fact that he was convicted of felony drug possession in 2002. Florida is notorious for playing host to a large number of high-profile drug and pill mill operations.