Popular Broward doctor’s ‘pill mill’ punishment is much less than feds sought – Sun Sentinel
Popular Broward Doctor’s ‘Pill Mill’ Punishment is Much Less than Feds Sought
When a popular doctor went to trial this year on a slew of fraud, money laundering and prescription drug allegations, jurors decided he was guilty of just one charge — conspiring to illegally dispense addictive pain pills at his busy medical practice.
Prosecutors argued that was proof enough that Dr. Andres Mencia was a drug-pusher who operated a thriving pill mill. On Friday, they urged a judge to sentence Mencia to 20 years in federal prison and force him to turn over $2.7 million worth of assets as punishment.
The judge didn’t fully buy their argument, ruling instead that Mencia ran a thriving practice that mostly helped legitimate patients but that he and some of his staff also illegally provided pain pills to a smaller percentage of clients.
The appropriate penalty, the judge ruled, was six and a half years in federal prison and just $4,800 worth of forfeited cash — the amount of money paid to Mencia by undercover “patients” who were part of the investigation. The judge also imposed a fine of $250,000.
“Dr. Mencia has been a good doctor. He’s been someone patients relied on and trusted,” U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas said during sentencing. “But he got a little greedy.”
Doctor prescribed needless pills and bilked Medicare, feds say
The judge said it was clear that Mencia, 65, of Fort Lauderdale, broke the law but indicated he didn’t accept Mencia did so to the extent that prosecutors alleged.
There was evidence that Mencia pre-signed prescriptions and that he and some of some of his assistants illegally distributed pain pills to customers at the Adult & Geriatric Institute of Florida on Commercial Boulevard in Oakland Park, the judge said.
Mencia’s punishment should serve as a deterrent to other doctors who might be tempted to “make a quick and easy side buck” by supplying opioids to drug-addicted people, the judge said.
Mencia, who has been jailed since the guilty verdict in June, only answered “yes, Your Honor” to a few questions from the judge during the sentencing hearing in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.
He declined an invitation to speak in his defense and his attorneys suggested he will probably appeal his conviction and punishment.
Handcuffed, shackled and wearing dark blue jail scrubs with his long hair pulled back in a loose ponytail, Mencia hugged his lawyers, Marcos Beaton and Brad Horenstein, after he learned his fate. He also smiled and waved at a dozen family members and supporters in court.
‘Pill mill’ doc who prescribed 1.2 million doses of opioids found guilty
Supporters said Mencia was a caring physician who was adored by his patients, many of them seniors who frequently brought home-cooked treats for their beloved doctor.
How We Can Help
If you, a friend or a family member find themselves in a situation such as this, please call the Law Office of Scott A. Ferris, P.A. at 305 670-3330 right away. Scott A. Ferris, Esq. is a licensed criminal defense attorney who has been practicing law since 1987. He is available whenever you need him to pursue your rights. Please learn about our firm at www.FerrisLawFirm.com.
Republished by the Law Office of Scott A. Ferris, P.A.