Home Miami Press Releases 2012 Three More Defendants Sentenced in Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Pill Mill Operation

Three More Defendants Sentenced in Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Pill Mill Operation
Twenty Operation Oxy Alley Defendants Have Been Sentenced

U.S. Attorney’s Office February 10, 2012
  • Southern District of Florida (313) 226-9100

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 three additional defendants on charges stemming from Operation Oxy Alley, a coordinated investigation into pill mills in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Including the three defendants sentenced today, twenty defendants have been sentenced to date on an indictment unsealed on August 23, 2010, which charged 32 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 32 defendants were doctors.

Today, U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra sentenced three defendants. Augusto Lizarazo, M.D., 70, of Jupiter, was sentenced to four years of probation and 36 months of home confinement. Dianna Pavnick George, 27, of Wellington, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release. Denice Haggerty, 58, of Wellington, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, to be followed by one year of supervised release. Dianna Pavnick George, Haggerty, and Lizarazo pled guilty in October 2011 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

At present, 28 of the 32 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.

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.