Miami, FL – Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office, and Mark R. Trouville, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, recently announced that Dr. Stephen Anthony, 64, of Davie, Florida, pled guilty to conspiring to distribute and dispense large amounts of oxycodone without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice. Dr. Anthony also pleaded guilty to money laundering and income tax evasion. Anthony faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years on the drug charge, ten years on the money laundering charge and 5 years on the tax evasion charge. The sentencing hearing is set for October 4, 2013 in front of U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr.
According to the terms of the plea agreement, Anthony has agreed to forfeit $338,300 in money and property representing proceeds he earned and laundered as a result of his involvement as a physician at Broward Urgent Care in Fort Lauderdale. As set forth in the plea agreement, between April 2010 and February 2011, Anthony was employed as a clinic doctor at Broward Urgent Care which, at the time, was had previously been owned by co-conspirators, Vincent Colangelo and Nicholaus Thomas. Colangelo pleaded guilty to narcotics, money laundering and federal income tax offenses on April 2, 2012, arising from his ownership of six pill mill clinics and a pharmacy in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Thomas pleaded guilty on November 18, 2011 to narcotics and money laundering charges. Colangelo and Thomas sold Broward Urgent Care to Anthony after the Florida legislature enacted legislation in October 2010 requiring that pain management clinics be owned by licensed physicians. According to a review of medical records, while at Broward Urgent Care, Anthony wrote 12,510 prescriptions for oxycodone and 5,776 prescriptions for Xanax, and more than 99% of Anthony’s patients received prescriptions for oxycodone. In total, Anthony prescribed 42,374,370 milligrams of oxycodone during the ten months he worked as a physician at Broward Urgent Care.
Between 2000 and 2007, Anthony evaded the payment of approximately $556,262 in individual income and employment taxes. According to the plea agreement, Anthony evaded taxes by depositing monies into a bank account in the name of a third party. Instead of paying taxes, Anthony purchased thousands of dollars in personal items including jewelry and automobiles. Anthony also laundered approximately $581,761 in illegal narcotics proceeds generated from Broward Urgent Care between October 15, 2010 and February 22, 2011.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “We will continue to investigate and aggressively prosecute physicians like Dr. Anthony, who illegally prescribed prescription pain killers from his pill mill clinic without regard for the safety and well-being of his patients or our community. We are committed to prosecuting unscrupulous doctors, clinic owners, or other operators who deal drugs while hiding behind a medical license.”
Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, stated, “IRS Special Agents are experts at following the money trail to ensure that income from legal or illicit sources is properly reported. Dr. Anthony’s guilty plea to tax evasion and money laundering charges, in conjunction with the forfeiture of his ill-gotten assets, sends a clear message that law-breakers will not be allowed to enjoy the fruit of their crimes.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge Mark R. Trouville stated, “This is a great example of where the road leads to for pill mill doctors. Due to these investigations, Florida doctors are no longer among the top oxycodone purchasers in the United States. The DEA will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate those who look to prosper from the diversion of powerful prescription medicines and to ensure public safety.”
Vincent Colangelo was sentenced on June 29, 2012 to twenty years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. Nicholaus Thomas was sentenced on May 23, 2012 to ten years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Mr. Ferrer thanked the DEA, IRS-CI and the Broward Sheriff’s Office, as well as the many other state and local agencies for their investigative work. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Behnke and Tax Division Trial Attorney Greg Tortella.
Source: US DOJ