Eight employees of Real Care Medical Group have been arrested for racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering and eight counts of manslaughter. According to the investigation, Dr. Lynn Averill issued prescriptions of alprazolam, methadone and oxycodone without medical necessity, causing overdose deaths of at least eight patients. Attorney General Pam Bondi, Special Agent A.D. Wright of the Drug Enforcement Administration Miami Field Division, Sheriff Scott Israel of Broward County Sheriff’s Office, and Chief John Brooks of Sunrise Police Department today announced the third phase of this high profile investigation named Operation Pill Nation.
“We will not allow any doctors or clinic owners to knowingly abuse their positions by selling or delivering highly addictive controlled substances to patients with no medical necessity,” said Attorney General Bondi. “I applaud my Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the Sunrise Police Department for the great investigative work that led to these arrests.”
The arrests follow a five-year investigation led by the DEA in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Sunrise Police Department. A review of the Automation of Reports and Consolidated Orders System, maintained by the DEA, revealed that from Jan. 7, 2010 through July 31, 2010, Dr. Averill purchased nearly half a million pills of oxycodone from wholesalers. During this same time frame, the national average of approximately 2,000 practitioners was less than 25,000 pills. Dr. Averill's purchase of oxycodone ranked her 25th of the top 100 practitioners in the country and 12th in Florida.
During the course of the investigation, DEA undercover agents posed as patients and never received a physical exam or presented any medical necessity for medication, yet obtained a total of 720 oxycodone 30 mg tablets, 420 oxycodone 15 mg. tablets, three 30ml liquid oxycodone 20mg/ml, 330 alprazolam 2mg tablets and 30 Percocet tablets. According to the investigation, Dr. Averill and the clinic owners were aware of patients dying from overdose deaths and continued to issue prescriptions to whomever brought cash to pay for the drugs.
In addition to Dr. Averill, the following seven co-conspirators were charged and arrested: Richard Philipoff, 33, of St. Cloud, Fla, Nikhil Bhasin, 28, of Warren, N.J., Calvin Bynum, 24, of Gainesville, Fla., Omar Lorden, 50, of Altamonte, Fla., Keith Petnel, 29, of Melbourne, Fla., Presmil Masson, 44, of Kissimmee, Fla., and Diana Philipoff, 32, of Melbourne. Fla. Diane Philipoff also set up bank accounts that received deposits and transfers from the Real Care Medical Group pain clinic, and other clinics operated and controlled by Richard Philipoff, Nikhil Bhasin, and Presmil Masson in Boca Raton, Jacksonville and Orlando.