George Brothers Used Pain Clinics to Disburse Oxycodone Pain Killer Pills

Investigation Reports. How the George Brothers’ Massive Illegal Oxycodone Pain Pill Distribution Contributed to the Drug Epidemic and Oxy-Related Overdoses. Federal and State Authorities coordinated to shut down their criminal enterprises in Florida.

Christopher George and Jeffrey George, twin brothers, operated, managed, and financed four pain management clinics in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. The George Brothers and their families were targeted in federal and state probes for overprescribing the pills and several overdose deaths. 32 Defendants in connection with charges stemming from Operation Oxy Alley were convicted due to a coordinated investigation into “Pill Mills” in Florida.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Schedule II prescription painkillers, like oxycodone, cause more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. Oxycodone and other Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and can be crushed and snorted or dissolved and injected to get an immediate high. This abuse can lead to addiction, overdose, and sometimes death.

In the late 90s, going into the 2000s, the rate of prescription opioid use began to rise, as did the number of overdose deaths related to prescription opioids.

There were a lot of pill mills, a lot of unscrupulous physicians prescribing buckets full of oxycodone. There used to be the I-95, the “Oxy Express,” so people all along the East coast of the United States would come to Florida and access these pill mills.

So basically, we have these pain management clinics giving people access to just excessive amounts of opioids. And it was very well known that it was that easy to access opioids in Florida. 

The George Brothers’ Case Highlighted Florida Loopholes

The FBI and IRS, along with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and other law-enforcement agencies, spent 14 months investigating allegations that the George Brothers illegally sold drugs and laundered money.

No state agency regulated the cash-only companies, and no laws prevented non-doctors from opening medical offices, hiring physicians, and then selling highly addictive painkillers by the fistful.

Authorities said an utter lack of regulation turned the Sunshine State into a fantasy land for junkies and drug dealers from Key West to Knoxville, Tennessee, and beyond. According to investigators, the result was a multimillion-dollar cash bonanza for crooked clinic owners and doctors who wrote prescriptions with assembly-line efficiency.

The indictment also charged Steven Goodman, who was the owner of a pharmaceutical wholesaler, Medical Arts Inc., with participation in the racketeering criminal enterprise). Under federal law, Medical Arts Inc. was required to report to the DEA suspicious orders of controlled substances. Suspicious orders included orders of unusual size and frequency and deviating substantially from normal patterns. DEA notified Medical Arts Inc. that the George Brothers’ clinics appeared to be operating as illegal pill mills. Notwithstanding such notice, Medical Arts continued to supply the defendants’ clinics with approximately one million dosages of oxycodone and conspired to obstruct a governmental investigation into the clinics.

Gov. Charlie Crist signed a bill that allows the government to create a database to monitor prescriptions for powerful and addictive drugs like Oxycodone and Xanax. The state filed bills that would target clinic operators and doctors who are getting rich selling drugs to all comers. Investigators say these operators were making bank.

A single clinic run by the George Brothers—records show they opened at least five in South Florida since 2008—netted more than $14 million in one year alone.

As many as 250 people a day streamed in to see five doctors who were paid based on how many patients they treated. One physician earned $44,850 weekly at American Pain, a cash-only operation in 2009. Each of the five doctors ordered roughly half a million oxycodone tablets. However, the doctors walked away with only a fraction of the total haul, prosecutors said.

The George Brothers hired high-powered West Palm Beach Attorney James Eisenberg. Eisenberg, their attorney, said, “These guys ran what they felt was a legitimate business.” “They had doctors, and the doctors were saying everything’s OK.”

He said the twins’ bluster isn’t evidence of wrongdoing. “These guys may have talked a big game,” he said, “but they really didn’t do anything illegal.”

U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer stated, “Thanks to the hard work of our federal and local partners, dangerous pill mills have been shut down, and the owners, operators, and doctors have been sent to jail. We will continue to aggressively prosecute those who deal drugs hiding behind a medical or professional license.”

“South Florida is no longer a haven for those who illegally distribute pain killers and steroids through pill mills,” said Miami FBI Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies. “Our joint operation with over a dozen federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have shut down this criminal organization that ran four pain clinics, two pharmacies, one pharmaceutical supplier, and one steroid business.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark Trouville stated, “The sentences handed down represent the seriousness of the prescription drug epidemic in South Florida and the United States. DEA remains committed to ridding our communities of illegally diverted pharmaceutical drugs.”

IRS Special Agent in Charge José A. Gonzalez stated, “By following the money trail, IRS Special Agents were successful in financially disrupting and dismantling this illegal organization. Not only are these criminals going to jail, but the government has seized a significant portion of the illegal proceeds through asset forfeiture.

Florida’s Pill Mills Were a Gateway to the Opioid Crisis (Terry Spencer, Associated Press, July 20, 2019)

Florida’s pill mills “opened fast and furious because there was very little regulation … and the majority of law enforcement was not trained to handle the movement of legal drugs for illegal purposes,” said Lisa McElhaney, then a sheriff’s narcotics investigator in Broward County, the epicenter of the pill-mill boom.

By the clinics’ peak in 2010, 90 of the nation’s top 100 opioid prescribers were Florida doctors, according to federal officials, and 85 percent of the nation’s oxycodone was prescribed in the state. That year alone, about 500 million pills were sold in Florida. The number of people who died in Florida with oxycodone or another prescription opioid in their system hit 4,282 in 2010, a four-fold increase from 2000, with 2,710 of the deaths deemed overdoses, according to a state medical examiners’ report.

Background into the George Brothers’ Oxycodone Pill Killer Distribution Businesses

In 2007, Christopher George’s twin brother, Jeffrey George, introduced him to a pill mill doctor who promised him big money. Eventually, Jeffrey went off on his own and opened the South Beach Rejuvenation Clinic in 2008, with him as the registered owner.

After his father’s office shut down, Chris returned to Palm Beach County and joined his brother’s online steroid-selling business. They would conduct appointments through telemedicine or email and then would ship the patients whatever steroids they wanted. As their company flourished, Jeff had his eyes set on higher targets. He was egged on by William Overstreet, a physician he was acquainted with while moving through the black market. William was well-versed in the nuances of Florida’s health care regulations and told Jeff to shift to selling oxycodone if he wanted to mint “real money.” The doctor told them the real money was in painkillers.

According to court indictments, William had good authority on illegal pill distribution and earned the moniker “Candy Man” because of his generosity in dispensing pain pills. Jeffrey George collaborated with him to open the South Florida Pain Clinic in early 2008 in a small shopping plaza north of Fort Lauderdale, with his twin brother soon joining the business. They posted Craigslist ads to find licensed physicians, promising generous pay in exchange for a willingness to extensively prescribe a drug cocktail of oxycodone and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

Customers lined up at the South Florida Pain Clinic in Wilton Manors. It was one of the first clinics opened by Jeffrey George (Photo: Susan Stocker, South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Christopher, meanwhile, opened American Pain in both Broward and Palm Beach counties, as well as Boca Drugs and Quick Pharm. Due to a previous conviction for steroid distribution (Chris George opened these clinics under his friends’ names. Chris had ordered steroids from Europe for himself, Jeffrey, and other friends and got caught. He was sentenced to 8 months in jail, six of which he served on work furlough, where he worked in his father’s construction business).

According to court indictments, the George brothers had a super-efficient business model comprising an entire ecosystem. The pain clinic customers were directed first to a mobile MRI unit parked behind a West Palm Beach strip club. They were also required to submit urine samples to demonstrate that they weren’t abusers. However, lab technicians looked the other way when patients swapped clean urine or even showed the presence of narcotics in the urinalysis.

Pain clinic doctors devoted an average of three minutes to each patient, ignoring the results of the MRIs, failing to inquire about the patient’s medical history, and neglecting to ask the questions necessary to make an objective diagnosis. With so many customers being ushered in, the Brothers supplied the physicians with stamps to “sign” prescriptions to save their hands from cramping. After receiving their scripts, the customers were guided to pharmacies controlled by the George Brothers.

According to court records, Chris’ wife, a former stripper, volunteered to help dispense the drugs. She did not have the pharmaceutical training to take the specific safety measures required to handle the dangers of mixing a deadly dose of medication. However, the efficiency with which the George Brothers ran their business soon posed a new problem—they needed to expand rapidly to meet the needs. Jeffrey George opened East Coast Pain in West Palm Beach and Hallandale Pain in the South Broward County City of Hallandale Beach.

Plow & Hearth

When the clinics attracted rowdy drug addicts, police began to take notice. One clinic was moved to keep the heat off. But things began to get out of control, including one incident where two women driving away from the clinic were critically injured after their car was struck by a train. Oxycodone pills spilled out of the car all over the scene of the accident.

Chris opened a clinic called American Pain in Boca Raton in 2008 summer. However, the voracious demand of pill addicts led to the launch of the new American Pain in a 20,000-square-foot building in Lake Worth. It was situated in a primarily immigrant neighborhood, with George explaining on a recorded phone call how “immigrants don’t call cops.” With it being the single largest clinic in the county, investigators claimed the five most generous script-writing doctors saw 500 patients per day, earning nearly $2 million in a year.

Drug dealers and patients from different states, like Kentucky and Tennessee, queued for prescriptions, with security workers cruising the clinic grounds in golf carts. They steered customers to the clinic door and prevented loiterers. Court records stated the clinics administered millions of oxy doses over the counter and diverted thousands more to street traffickers paying in cash. Eventually, the George Brothers trafficked more than $500 million in pain pills, fueling the worst drug epidemic in American history.

Pain Killer Profits. On March 3, 2010, as law enforcement raided his home and pain clinics, a frantic Chris George called his wife Dianna, asking her to take the fall.

Feds Raid Pain Clinics Suspected of Illegally Distributing Millions of Prescription Drugs (ABC News, March 5, 2010)

A raid on three South Florida pain clinics that were suspected of illegally distributing millions of prescription pills was the start of what authorities called a massive investigation of such “pill mills.”

“It’s a very good start to what is going to be a long process, but this is just an example of what’s going on,” Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said. “They represent what the bad pain clinics are doing.”

The raids were part of a multi-jurisdictional investigation that included the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and police departments in Broward and Palm Beach counties, which earlier this week took box after box from American Pain, East Coast Pain, and Executive Pain, according to authorities.

All three clinics were owned by 29-year-old twin brothers Christopher and Jeffrey George. American Pain had been in operation for five weeks before the raid.

The 14-month criminal investigation of all three clinics discovered that American Pain had five primary physicians working full-time last year and together administered more than 2 million of the highly addictive oxycodon pills, according to the federal court documents.

The five doctors ranked within the Top 20 Purchasers of Oxycodone, according to DEA statistics. They were each paid anywhere from $860,000 to $1.2 million last year, according to the court documents, alleging that the more patients the doctors saw, the more they were paid.

Plow & Hearth

A meeting between Christopher George and an undercover DEA agent wearing a recording device yielded even more evidence of the alleged unethical practices of the clinic, such as money laundering and illegal distribution of prescription drugs, according to the documents.

Chris George allegedly told the informant that he had “40 million in assets that needed to be laundered,” according to the documents and that he was carrying about $50,000 in cash that “reflected one day of income from the American Pain Clinic.”

The documents also allege that the clinic attracted people from states such as Kentucky, Ohio, and South Carolina to pay “$5.00 for a pill and take the pills back to their home state and sell them for $80.00 a pill.” The patients would often be paid or “sponsored” by a “recruiter” to travel to Florida and, upon return to their home state, would “provide the sponsor with half of the narcotics they obtained,” according to the documents.

Twin Kingpins Behind Some of the Most Brazen Pain Clinics in South Florida (Michael LaGorgia, The Palm Beach Post, March 6, 2010)

Chris and Jeff George drove flashy cars, amassed property, and made multi-million-dollar deals, radiating wealth and success while clients of their pain clinics got high and, in some cases, died.

Christopher George’s Silver Monster Truck

Supporting their lavish lifestyle was a stream of dirty cash from drug traffickers who routed painkillers to Kentucky, Ohio, and South Carolina, federal prosecutors allege in documents filed in U.S. District Court.

By that point, the 29-year-old brothers had evolved from brash, rambunctious sons of a prominent Florida home builder into the masterminds behind some of the most brazen and flagrant pain clinics in South Florida.

As they made their way in the pain management industry, the George Brothers did business with a colorful cast of characters — including the investor ex-husband of a notorious Palm Beach socialite and a captain of the Colombo crime family, state and county records show.

The George Brothers Lived Large

At Chris George’s house in Wellington’s upscale Talavera neighborhood, security cameras scanned the grounds. Inside, walls were hung with jumbo TVs. The place reminded one deputy who searched it of a set in the movie Scarface.

Jeff George spent money on expensive toys, splurging on boats, and a monster truck he used to antagonize his neighbors. He would weave in and out of traffic on Okeechobee Boulevard in his pearl metallic yellow Lamborghini, looking for upstart clinics encroaching on his territory.

Jeffrey George of Royal Palm Beach and his monster Ford truck.

When West Palm Medical Center opened, despite a pain clinic moratorium enacted by county commissioners a month earlier, Jeff George called code enforcement officers. He got the new business shut down, at least temporarily.

Sons of prominent builder John Paul George, the George brothers have operated at the edge of the law for years, sheriff’s investigators said.

In 2002, when demand for black market steroids was soaring, a sheriff’s agent caught Chris George picking up a package of the illegal supplements ordered from Mexico. He eventually pleaded guilty to a felony drug possession charge. Years later, he ventured into the pain clinic business, where his felony conviction was no obstacle.

By 2008, the brothers ran pain management centers in Palm Beach and Broward counties. Between setting up clinics, Jeff George branched in other directions.

In early 2008, he planned to open a massage parlor in West Palm Beach when a broker introduced him to investor Harald Dude, said Dude’s attorney, Marshall Rosenbach. Dude, the husband of Roxanne Pulitzer until the couple divorced in 2001, was embroiled in an ugly legal battle over a West Palm Beach strip club, and he jumped at the chance to lease space to the young businessman.

Fighting Dude for ownership of Dreamgirls, formerly Club Diamonds, was Thomas Farese, a captain in the Colombo crime family. Farese was convicted in 1998 of using the club to launder money. He had been wrangling over the North Congress Avenue business ever since.

Jeff George’s massage parlor, Executive Touch, never got off the ground, but soon after the failed venture, he approached Dude about leasing the contested strip club. In February, Dude, weary of Farese, struck a deal to sell an interest in the company that owned the shopping center to Jeff George, Rosenbach said. As co-owners of the property, Jeff George and his father were moving to evict Farese.

Besides the strip club, records show businesses that leased space from Jeff George included a sex shop and a dealer in hydroponics equipment.

In their January 2011 hearing, the George brothers pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. Jeff said, “I realize what I did was 100 percent wrong. I take 100 percent responsibility.” Jeff pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge and was sentenced to 15 and a half years. He was also convicted of second-degree felony murder in the fatal overdose of a patient named Joey Bartolucci, who died by overdosing on oxycodone he received at the East Coast Pain clinic. He received an additional 20-year sentence for the murder charge.

United States of America v. Christopher Paul George, Jeffrey George et al. (August 11, 2011)

During his trial in 2012, Chris George boasted that he was proud to be a criminal. He testified that his businesses in Fort Lauderdale, Boca, West Palm, and Wilton Manors made $40 million in just a couple of years in operation. He boasted of a lavish lifestyle as a result of selling painkillers to drug addicts.

Prosecutors used Chris George’s testimony to convict two doctors, Cynthia Cadet and Joseph Castronuovo, during a trial in a West Palm Beach federal court.

Chris George’s testimony helped get him a reduced sentence, but his boasting killed any chances of getting any significant reduction. According to court records, Chris served his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution in Coleman, Florida. Chris also pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge and was initially sentenced to 17 ½ years in prison. However, a judge reduced it to 14 years after he agreed to testify against two doctors who worked at the clinics and were accused of contributing to the deaths of eight patients.

Wellington’s Pill Mill Kingpins: One Ratted Out His Own Mother (Palm Beach Post)

Christopher and Jeffrey George of Wellington ran the largest pill mill operation in the country, prosecutors said. Several family members were involved, including their mother, whom Jeff testified against.

“I’m not sure that I want him back out on the streets as quickly as everyone here seems to want; he’s a dangerous person,” Marra said during the hearing. He was proud of what he did. He was just upset that he got caught.”

Four More Defendants Sentenced in Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Pill Mill Operation—Operation Oxy Allen (U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Florida, February 3, 2012)

U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra sentenced four defendants. Christopher Paul George, 30, of Wellington, was sentenced to 210 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Ethan Baumhoff, 40, of Fort Lauderdale, was sentenced to 132 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. George and Baumhoff pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy in October 2011. Daniel Hauser, M.D., 61, of Hollywood, was sentenced to six months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release. Roni Dreszer, M.D., 36, of Sunny Isle Beach, was sentenced to 72 months in prison, followed by one year of supervised release. Hauser and Dreszer pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in October 2011.

Inside Christopher George’s $40 Million Pill Mill: 18 Million Pills and a Bikini Model (Rich Abdill, Broward/Palm Beach New Times, February 8, 2012)

The George Brothers pleaded guilty to charges related to pain clinics operated in South Florida.

While many of the pills were filled by outside pharmacies, American Pain’s doctors themselves ordered 6.2 million pills, dispensed by a staff that, rather than being composed only of properly trained technicians, included “an individual who was otherwise employed as a bikini model.”

Thirty-Two Indicted in Florida in Second Coordinated Pill Mill Takedown (FBI Miami, U.S. Attorney’s Office, August 23, 2012)

Thirty-two defendants, including 13 doctors, were charged in an indictment for their participation in, among other things, the illegal distribution of pain killers and steroids through pill mills operating in Broward and Palm Beach Counties in Florida and through the Internet, respectively.

The five-count indictment, filed Aug. 11, 2011, charged the defendants with numerous crimes, including racketeering conspiracy (18 defendants in count 1), money laundering conspiracy (19 defendants in count 2), possession with intent to distribute controlled substances (19 defendants in count 3), maintaining drug-involved premises (9 defendants in count 4), and wire and mail fraud conspiracy (16 defendants in count 5).

Charged in the indictment were Christopher Paul George, 30, of Wellington; Jeffrey George, 30, of Wellington; Derik Nolan, 34, of Wellington; Christopher Hutson, 31, of Wellington; Theodore Obermeyer, 30, of West Palm Beach; Ethan Baumhoff, 40, of Ft. Lauderdale; Andrew Harrington, 31, of Deerfield Beach; Daryl Michael Stewart, 44, of West Palm Beach, Steven Goodman, 67, of St. Petersburg; Michael Renda, 30, of West Palm Beach, Matthew Siss, 25, of Jupiter; Pedro Martinez, 35, of Royal Palm Beach; Jason Leve, 33, of Wellington; Jack Martin, 48, of North Palm Beach; Marc Anthony Naya, 26, of Boynton Beach; Zachary Horsley, 25, of Royal Palm Beach; Gino Marquez, 30, of Wellington; Beau Boshers, M.D., 47, of Palm Beach Gardens; Michael Aruta, M.D., 48, of Boca Raton; Cynthia Cadet, M.D., 41, of Parkland; Roni Dreszer, M.D., 36, of Sunny Isles Beach; Patrick Graham, M.D., 64, of Boca Raton; Daniel Hauser, M.D., 61, of Hollywood; Robert Meek, D.O., 36, of Davie; Vernon Atreidis, M.D., 46, of Ft. Lauderdale; Augusto Lizarazo, M.D., 70, of Jupiter; Christine Chico-Blume, D.O., 59, of Jupiter; Dianna Pavnick George, 27, of Wellington; Denice Haggerty, 58, of Wellington; Joseph Castronuovo, M.D., 72, of Key Largo; Irwin Beretsky, M.D., 76, of Boca Raton; and Jacobo Dreszer, M.D., 70, of Sunny Isles Beach, Florida.

U.S. Attorney Ferrer stated, “These defendants showed a callous disregard for the well-being of their patients and the value of human life. For years, they distributed oxycodone and other controlled substances without regard to medical need, without individual treatment plans, and without physical examinations. Like all drug traffickers, they focused solely on making money and staying out of jail. But thanks to the hard work of our federal and local partners, we are shutting down these dangerous pill mills, seizing their money and assets, and sending the owners, operators, and doctors to jail. You cannot deal drugs hiding behind a medical license.”

“The significance of the takedown is that we have dismantled the nation’s largest criminal organization involved in the illegal distribution of pain killers,” said Special Agent in Charge for FBI Miami Gillies. “Up until today, efforts focused on the demand by targeting individual users. Today, we attacked the source and choked off the supply.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Trouville stated, “This indictment reflects our continued multi-prong attack on those who contribute to the illegal diversion of pharmaceutical drugs from the pill mills of Florida to the streets of communities across the United States. The DEA has the unique ability to use both criminal and administrative tools to put drug traffickers out of business.”

IRS Special Agent in Charge Gonzalez stated, “When any serious criminal activity is identified, IRS will commit resources to work side by side with our law enforcement partners to dismantle major drug trafficking organizations and their money laundering operations. Our special agents effectively traced the flow of monies, identified the individuals who profited from these illegal activities, and seized the assets purchased using the ill-gotten gains.”

“Thanks to the efforts of law enforcement and lawmakers, Broward County is losing its dubious distinction as the pill mill capital of the country,” Broward Sheriff Lamberti said. “Unfortunately, deadly prescription drug abuse continues, and local, state, and federal authorities must keep up the fight to combat it.”

Hollywood Assistant Police Chief Granteed stated, “Since 2003, the Hollywood Police Department and the South Broward Drug Enforcement Unit, in partnership with the Broward Sheriff’s Office, have been aggressively involved in operations like this to fight illegal pain clinics throughout Broward County. This type of joint police action is the only way to prevent trafficking in oxycodone, doctor shopping, and the deaths that result from overdoses. We will continue this fight and not rest until every illegal pain clinic is closed.”

“Oxy is a contemporary plague. We are very happy to have partnered with the agencies involved in this operation and to have played a role in such a significant undertaking. It is our hope that through these efforts and other similar operations, we can reduce the illicit use of oxy and save lives,” stated Chief Lynn of the Davie Police Department.

According to the indictment, the defendants operated the clinics as pill mills that offered patients prescriptions for oxycodone and other controlled substances without any legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional medical practice. Consequently, individuals, including addicts and traffickers, seeking to buy large quantities of oxycodone and other controlled substances would travel from as far as Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, and elsewhere to obtain prescriptions at the defendants’ clinics. The business was such that the defendants hired security guards to attempt to control the fights and arguments that would often erupt between patients waiting in the clinic lobbies for their physical examinations or prescriptions.

To execute the scheme, the defendants hired complicit doctors who agreed from as early as their job interviews to prescribe oxycodone and other controlled substances to patients without regard to medical necessity, with only a cursory physical examination of the patient, and in violation of numerous federal and state laws and DEA regulations regarding the storage and distribution of controlled substances. The doctors typically prescribed a “cocktail” of controlled substances, including large quantities of oxycodone (30 mg and 15 mg), Xanax (2 mg), and/or Soma, with no individualized treatment plans or showing of medical need. In return, the complicit doctors were paid on a per capita basis depending on the number of patients they examined each day.

According to the indictment, by 2010, the complicit doctors were allegedly examining close to 500 patients each day at just one clinic, the American Pain Clinic. In fact, from July 2008 through March 2010, approximately 66,871 prescriptions were allegedly filled from the American Pain Clinic. Of the prescriptions filled at American Pain Clinic, approximately 96% were for either oxycodone or alprazolam. Moreover, about 80% of the prescriptions filled at American Pain Clinic were for individuals who listed an address outside of Florida.

In addition to the illegal distribution of controlled substances, many of the racketeering defendants in count 1 are alleged to have participated in large-scale fraudulent telemarketing activity. The racketeering defendants allegedly operated and managed two large illegal time share resale businesses, in which they made false statements to victims to induce them to pay fees for non-existent marketing and sales activities. These timeshare telemarketing schemes generated millions of dollars in profit for these defendants.

The indictment further alleges that many of the racketeering defendants, under the direction of Jeffrey George, were also involved in the illegal Internet distribution of anabolic steroids through South Beach Rejuvenation and Health Inc., a company that he owned and controlled. According to the charges, South Beach Rejuvenation and Health Inc. allegedly sold steroids to customers without first conducting in-person patient examinations, as required by federal law. Once again, the racketeering enterprise used complicit doctors to issue thousands of prescriptions for steroids. This criminal activity generated millions of dollars for the defendants.

Lastly, the indictment alleges that the racketeering defendants engaged in wide-ranging violence, including kidnapping, extortion, assault, aggravated assault with a firearm, and other crimes of violence against competitors and individuals whom they suspected of stealing or other disloyalty.

The defendants faced a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on count one, 10 years on count two, 20 years on count three, 20 years on count four, and five years on count five.

The case, dubbed Operation Oxy Alley, resulted from 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.

A separate press release was issued by the Office of the State Attorney, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Operation “Prescription for Death,” which addresses state murder and trafficking charges relating to some of these defendants.

Christopher George, the onetime Broward/Palm Beach pill mill kingpin who was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison, saw that sentence reduced due to his role in informing against two doctors.

Jeff George, owner of three South Florida pain clinics, and one of his prescribing doctors were charged in connection with the overdose death of a patient. Sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Twin Brothers: Jeffrey George and Christopher George

Christopher George, Pill Mill King, Has Sentenced Reduced (Chris Joseph, Broward/Palm Beach New Times, April 14, 2014)

Meanwhile, more than a decade after the FBI shut down their operation, Chris George believes he and his brother played no role in the fatal overdoses.

American Pain: Twin Brothers Ran a Massive Painkiller Ring in Florida that was linked to thousands of deaths (Faith Karimi, CNN, February 3, 2023)

“In the end, it’s their responsibility. They’re responsible for themselves, I’m not,” he says in the film after his release from prison. “I don’t think we created more addicts. They were already here. They just had an easier way to get their drugs. And a safer way. Now they don’t even know what they’re getting.”

Chris George, who is out on parole, continues to deflect blame for his drugs’ deadly toll onto his former patients.

“They said they were in pain to my doctors. They got an MRI showing they were in pain. My doctors gave them medication. What they did with that is out of my hands.

“They act like I’m the bad guy here ‘cause I owned a business,” he added. “You know, in this country, anybody can open a business.”

Chris George said he plans to start a real estate business with his friend Nolan.

And if the housing market crashes, like it did during their opioid empire’s heyday, Nolan told the makers of “American Pain” that he has another idea. “We may have to venture back into the medical field,” he said.


American Pain is a one-stop shop, supplying both prescriptions and painkillers. At the door, a hulking bouncer warns people not to snort their pills in the parking lot. That would attract the kind of attention that the clinic’s owners, twin brothers Chris and Jeff George, are trying to avoid. But it’s too late. Local and federal investigators are nearby, watching every move. These are scenes from a CNN Films documentary, “American Pain,” which details the George brothers’ rise and fall as opioid kingpins. 

American Pain: How a Young Felon and His Ring of Doctors Unleashed America’s Deadliest Drug Epidemic by John Temple

American Pain chronicles the rise and fall of this game-changing pill mill, and how it helped tip the nation into its current opioid crisis, the deadliest drug epidemic in American history. The narrative swings back and forth between Florida and Kentucky, and is populated by a gaudy and diverse cast of characters. This includes the incongruous band of wealthy bad boys, thugs and esteemed physicians who built American Pain, as well as penniless Kentucky clans who transformed themselves into painkiller trafficking rings. It includes addicts whose lives were devastated by American Pain’s drugs, and the federal agents and grieving mothers who labored for years to bring the clinic’s crew to justice.

How the Netflix Drama Painkiller Uncovers the Origins of the Opioid Crisis (Laura Zornosa, Time Magazine, August 10, 2023)

At its center, Painkiller is about the key moments that led to the opioid epidemic—and how they could have been stopped but weren’t. At one point, for instance, the lone FDA examiner charged with overseeing the approval process for OxyContin, Curtis Wright (Noah Harpster), became a serious roadblock for Purdue Pharma. But Wright would soon sign off on a drug application stating that “delayed absorption, as provided by OxyContin tablets, is believed to reduce the abuse liability of the drug.” The false claim, anchored by those two words—“is believed”—would quell the anxieties of doctors and patients around the country. And a year after OxyContin was approved, Wright left the FDA. He eventually went to work for Purdue.

Prescribing Death: The Fatal Truth about Painkillers (Real Crime, March 18, 2023)

What Are Opioids and Why Are They Dangerous? (Mayo Clinic)

What makes opioid medicines effective for treating pain also can make them dangerous.

At lower doses, opioids may make you feel sleepy. But higher doses can slow your breathing and heart rate, which can lead to death. And the pleasure or feeling high that results from taking an opioid can make you want to continue taking them more often and at higher doses. This can lead to addiction: Your brain and behavior are so badly affected that you no longer can control your use of opioids.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that Schedule II prescription painkillers, like oxycodone, cause more drug overdose deaths than cocaine and heroin combined. Oxycodone and other Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse and can be crushed and snorted or dissolved and injected to get an immediate high. This abuse can lead to addiction, overdose, and sometimes death.

The George Brothers Used Pain Clinics to Disburse Oxycodone Pain Killer Pills

Christopher George | Jeffrey George

Investigation Reports. The George Brothers’ Massive Illegal Oxycodone Pain Pill Distribution. Federal and State Authorities coordinated to shut down their criminal enterprises in Florida.

32 Defendants in connection with charges stemming from Operation Oxy Alley were convicted due to a coordinated investigation into “Pill Mills” in Florida. 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.

If you are aware of controlled substance violations in your community, you can submit your anonymous tip through the DEA online Tip Line and report the doctors or facility.

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See More Nationwide Investigations

How Florida Spread Oxy Across America (Pat Beall, The Palm Beach Post)

Pill Mills: An Overview of Law Enforcement’s Painful Challenge by Rick Ramirez, Florida

How Pain Clinic Owners Turned Patients’ Pain into Enormous Profits

How State and Federal Authorities are Dismantling Pill Mills in the United States

How to Recognize a Pain Pill Mill in Your Community

Authorities Crack Down on Pharmacists Fulfilling and Dispensing Massive Amounts of Pain Pills

How Federal Agencies are Shutting Down Maryland Pain Clinics Operating as Pill Mills

How Authorities are Dismantling Ohio Pain Management Clinics Prescribing Enormous Amounts of Opioid Painkiller Pills

How Authorities Have Shuttered Georgia Pain Clinics Massive Pain Pill Distribution

How Authorities are Dismantling Tennessee Pain Clinics Prescribing Massive Quantities of Opioid Pain Pills

How Authorities Are Cracking Down on Virginia Pain Clinics Massive Pain Killer Pill Operations

How Authorities Are Shutting Down Texas Pain Clinics Enormous Pill Prescriptions

How Authorities Are Cracking Down on Rogue Pain Clinics in Florida