News and Press Releases

Four More Defendants Sentenced in Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Pill Mill Operation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2012

Twenty-Four Operation Oxy Alley Defendants Have Been Sentenced

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, John V. Gillies, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), announced the sentencing of four additional defendants on charges stemming from Operation Oxy Alley, a coordinated investigation into pill mills in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Including the four defendants sentenced today, twenty-four defendants have been sentenced to date on an indictment unsealed on August 23, 2011, which charged thirty-two defendants.

The indictment alleged that defendants Christopher and Jeffrey George, twin brothers, operated, managed and financed four pain management clinics in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. According to the indictment and statements made in court, from 2008 to early 2010, these pill mills distributed approximately 20 million oxycodone pills and made more than $40 million from the illegal sales of controlled substances. Thirteen of the thirty-two defendants were doctors.

Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra sentenced four defendants. Michael Renda, 30, of West Palm Beach, was sentenced to 9 months in prison, to be followed by 1 year of supervised release. Michael Aruta, M.D., 48, of Boca Raton, was sentenced to 72 months in prison, to be followed by 1 year of supervised release. Patrick Graham, M.D., 64, of Boca Raton, was sentenced to 48 months in prison, to be followed by 1 year of supervised release. Robert Meek, D.O., 36 of Davie, was sentenced to 66 months in prison, to be followed by 1 year of supervised release. Renda plead guilty in October 2011 to one count of racketeering conspiracy. Graham, Aruta, and Meek plead guilty in October 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

At present, twenty-eight of the thirty-two defendants named in the indictment have pleaded guilty, including clinic owners Christopher and Jeffrey George. The sentencing hearings are scheduled to continue throughout February 2012.

The investigation and prosecution was the result of work by federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The FBI, DEA, IRS-CID were assisted by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the Hollywood Police Department, the Boca Raton Police Department, and the Davie Police Department. Coordination efforts also included cooperation by the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office and the Delray Beach Police Department, Jupiter Police Department, West Palm Beach Police Department, Boynton Beach Police Department, Medley Police Department, Homestead Police Department, North Miami Beach Police Department, and Sunny Isles Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul F. Schwartz, Lawrence D. LaVecchio and Strider Dickson.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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