Delray Beach doctor gets probation in pill mill racketeering case

A 71-year-old suburban Delray Beach doctor who authorities say was involved in a prescription drug trafficking ring has been sentenced to two years of house arrest and an additional three years’ probation.

Sherri Pinsley pleaded guilty Wednesday to a single charge of sale or transfer of prescription drugs to an unauthorized person.

Her Coral Gables attorney, Brian Bieber, said Wednesday that Pinsley could have faced up to 15 years in prison, and Assistant State Attorney Christopher Hudock had asked Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley for a five-year prison sentence. Kelley, however, gave no jail time to the grandmother of four.

Instead, Kelley ordered Pinsley to perform 300 hours of community service and serve five years of probation with the first two years on house arrest. She had already surrendered her license to practice medicine in Florida and New York several years ago.

Bieber on Thursday said Pinsley was “dragged into” the ring, which spanned from Florida to Georgia, and had little involvement in the overall case.

“Fortunately Judge Kelley evaluated the specific circumstances of this case, took into account who Dr. Pinsley really is and fashioned an appropriate sentence,” Bieber said. “Dr. Pinsley is extremely remorseful for her poor judgment and is ecstatic to put his matter behind her and move on with her life. This has been a cloud over her for six years.”

The Palm Beach County Prescription Drug Diversion Task Force and State Attorney’s Office dismantled the network Pinsley was involved in six years ago after a yearlong investigation dubbed Operation “Blue Spoon.” The effort yielded five arrests on charges ranging from operating an unlicensed pain clinic to trafficking in contraband prescription drugs.

Arrested besides Pinsley on June 9, 2011 were Pasquale Gervasio, of Parkland; Richard McMillan, of suburban Delray Beach; Boca Raton clinic manager Adelard LeFrancois, of suburban Boca Raton; and pharmacist Mark Donegan.

Corporate records show Gervasio was involved in opening the clinics in Boca Raton and Margate. McMillan was involved in opening clinics in Boca Raton and Palm Springs.

In all, authorities conducted seven raids in Palm Beach and Broward counties, targeting two pain clinics, Total Medical Express in Palm Springs and Boca Raton.

The raids came about after authorities conducted a “routine administrative inspection” at the Country Value Pharmacy, in the 6200 block of North Federal Highway in Boca Raton. Both times, investigators noted that Donegan, the pharmacy’s prescription department manager, wasn’t there and they couldn’t reach him. Instead, investigators dealt with LeFrancois, who is not a licensed pharmacist.

According to an affidavit for LeFrancois’ arrest, the pharmacy had more drugs than it could account for. Each time, LeFrancois told investigators the pills came from “Dr. Pinsley” and “the clinics,” both unauthorized sources. Pinsley pleaded guilty in 2011 and since then had helped prosecutors with her testimony against McMillan and others.

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