Jury Convicts Two Doctors of Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering in Connection with Pill Mill Operation in Broward and Palm Beach Counties
|U.S. Attorney’s Office August 01, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, 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 Michael J. De Palma, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), announce the conviction of two doctors, Cynthia Cadet, 43, of Parkland, Florida, and Joseph Castronuovo, 73, of Key Largo, Florida. After a two-month trial, a West Palm Beach jury found the defendants guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The jury also returned a forfeiture verdict in the amount of $10,001, as to each defendant. The defendants were acquitted of the remaining charges. Sentencing has been scheduled for November 4, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra.
The charges against the defendants stem from Operation Oxy Alley, a coordinated investigation into pill mills in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. In August 2011, 32 defendants, including Cadet and Castronuovo, were charged with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute controlled substances, and other offenses. Twenty-eight defendants have entered guilty pleas and have been sentenced in connection with the August 2011 indictment.
According to the August 2011 superseding indictment and evidence presented in court, defendants Christopher and Jeffrey George, twin brothers, operated, managed, and financed four pain management clinics in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. According to the August 2011 superseding indictment, the second superseding indictment filed on July 19, 2012, and statements made in court, from 2007 to early 2010, these clinics 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, including Cadet and Castronuovo.
The second superseding indictment charged Cadet and Castronuovo with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances (punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment) and money laundering conspiracy (punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment). Cadet was also charged with dispensing oxycodone and other controlled substances that resulted in the death of seven individuals (each count punishable by up to life imprisonment) and conspiracy to unlawfully distribute steroids (punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment). Castronuovo was also charged with dispensing oxycodone and other controlled substances that resulted in the death of two individuals and conspiracy to distribute oxycodone to persons under the age of 21 (punishable by up to 40 years’ imprisonment).
Operation Oxy Alley is a result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The OCDETF mission is to identify, investigate, and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking enterprises, bringing together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state, and local law enforcement.
The investigation and prosecution was the result of work by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The FBI, DEA, and 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 and Lawrence D. LaVecchio.