The owners of what police say was the largest pill mill in Tampa were sentenced to 30 years in prison on September 19, after what was reported to be the longest trial in Hillsborough County’s history.
Michele Gonzalez and Jorge Gonzalez-Betancourt were convicted of racketeering and drug trafficking charges in March. The married couple were the owners of 1st Medical Group, a licensed pain clinic that prosecutors say the pair used as a front to sell opioid prescriptions to addicts and dealers, some of whom traveled from faraway states to reach the supplier.
The trial lasted four and a half months, with five days of jury deliberation. At sentencing, the Gonzalezes and their former office manager, Maureen Altman, were each sentenced to 30 years in prison. The Gonzalezes were each fined $750,000, and Altman was fined $500,000. Altman was the only defendant to address the court, saying that she took the job in order to support herself.
Judge Caroline Tesche said the defendants were responsible for an organized criminal enterprise that profited on the backs of addicts.
People who have suffered harm due to improper prescription and dispensation of drugs may be able to obtain compensation by pursuing a pharmaceutical negligence lawsuit. Contact Joyce & Reyes to learn more about your rights.