John Pacenti

John Pacenti is an investigative reporter for The Palm Beach Post with an emphasis on the justice system and health. He is a veteran reporter of 30 years who recently worked for the Daily Business Review in Miami covering justice. He returned to the Post in 2015 where he served as a courts and investigative reporter for several years. A graduate of the University of Arizona, John has also worked for The Associated Press, The New Times and The Arizona Daily Star. 

Latest from John Pacenti

Ex-state attorney running for judge stokes the wrath of the powerful
 Despite its urban setting and diverse population, Palm Beach County’s politics still run on a small-town mentality where long-standing feuds lie dormant and then erupt. Few figures split these treacherous waters like one Michael McAuliffe. A former state attorney, McAuliffe is running to be a circuit judge — a powerful position...

Posted: 6 hours ago

Despite its urban setting and diverse population, Palm Beach County’s politics still run on a small-town mentality where long-standing feuds lie dormant and then erupt. Few figures split these treacherous waters like one Michael McAuliffe. A former state attorney, McAuliffe is running to be a circuit judge — a powerful position...
Mentally ill man allowed to starve to death in prison, lawsuit says
 When Vincent Gaines started serving his five-year prison sentence for burglary, the West Palm Beach resident weighed 190 pounds. He was also known to be bipolar and psychotic with borderline intellectual functioning. In fact, his prison intake information described him as stocky. When he died, the 5-foot-9 Gaines weighed 115 pounds and was...

Posted: 17 days ago

When Vincent Gaines started serving his five-year prison sentence for burglary, the West Palm Beach resident weighed 190 pounds. He was also known to be bipolar and psychotic with borderline intellectual functioning. In fact, his prison intake information described him as stocky. When he died, the 5-foot-9 Gaines weighed 115 pounds and was...
Guns, strippers, stock options: Suit details perks from fentanyl maker
 Expensive dinners, a trip to a gun range, a paid vacation with a strip club outing and stock options. Those were the perks provided to a Palm Beach County doctor from a pharmaceutical company for prescribing the dangerous opioid fentanyl, a recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit claims. The lawsuit against Insys Therapeutics says the...

Posted: 24 days ago

Expensive dinners, a trip to a gun range, a paid vacation with a strip club outing and stock options. Those were the perks provided to a Palm Beach County doctor from a pharmaceutical company for prescribing the dangerous opioid fentanyl, a recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit claims. The lawsuit against Insys Therapeutics says the...
Sheriff denies juvenile solitary confinement allegations in lawsuit
 Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, responding to a civil rights lawsuit, defended his agency’s policy of placing some juveniles charged as adults in solitary confinement, saying they are hardened young criminals who are well-cared for and whose constitutional rights are respected. The statement released Wednesday by Bradshaw&rsquo...

2:41 PM Thursday, Jul. 12, 2018

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, responding to a civil rights lawsuit, defended his agency’s policy of placing some juveniles charged as adults in solitary confinement, saying they are hardened young criminals who are well-cared for and whose constitutional rights are respected. The statement released Wednesday by Bradshaw&rsquo...
Jupiter doctor pleads guilty, plied teen with drugs, alcohol for sex
 After years of assuring the state of Florida that he would get clean and sober, Dr. Ricardo Alfredo Bedoya of Jupiter ran out of second chances. The nadir of his descent into full-blown addiction came nearly three years ago when a teenage runaway — missing from home for months — told police the once successful cardiologist plied...

3:37 PM Friday, Jul. 06, 2018

After years of assuring the state of Florida that he would get clean and sober, Dr. Ricardo Alfredo Bedoya of Jupiter ran out of second chances. The nadir of his descent into full-blown addiction came nearly three years ago when a teenage runaway — missing from home for months — told police the once successful cardiologist plied...
Lightning dances amid July 4th fireworks
 Mother nature upstaged dazzling Fourth of July fireworks displays with a light show of her own, unleashing fire and fury in the form of lightning, thunder and torrential rain, even sending huddled masses for cover under an overhang of Trump Plaza in West Palm Beach. For cities and municipalities that spent tens of thousands of dollars for...

9:33 PM Thursday, Jul. 05, 2018

Mother nature upstaged dazzling Fourth of July fireworks displays with a light show of her own, unleashing fire and fury in the form of lightning, thunder and torrential rain, even sending huddled masses for cover under an overhang of Trump Plaza in West Palm Beach. For cities and municipalities that spent tens of thousands of dollars for...
UPDATE: Con man on the run for 20 years pleads guilty to $1.7M fraud scheme 
 Update June 30, 2018: Scott J. Wolas appeared in federal court on Friday in Boston after he was arrested in Delray Beach in April 2017 for allegedly running a $1.7 million real estate investment fraud scheme. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the 69-year-old pleaded guilty to seven...

8:26 PM Saturday, Jun. 30, 2018

Update June 30, 2018: Scott J. Wolas appeared in federal court on Friday in Boston after he was arrested in Delray Beach in April 2017 for allegedly running a $1.7 million real estate investment fraud scheme. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the 69-year-old pleaded guilty to seven...
‘Largest health-care fraud’ takedown ever nets 124 in South Florida
 U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions announced today what he called “the largest health-care fraud takedown in history,” with more than 1,000 law enforcement officers charging 601 people — including 76 doctors, 23 pharmacists, 19 nurses — with more than $2 billion in fraud. The takedown included 124 defendants in South...

2:39 PM Thursday, Jun. 28, 2018

U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions announced today what he called “the largest health-care fraud takedown in history,” with more than 1,000 law enforcement officers charging 601 people — including 76 doctors, 23 pharmacists, 19 nurses — with more than $2 billion in fraud. The takedown included 124 defendants in South...
Suit: Jail keeps teens in solitary for months without care, education
 One young inmate in solitary confinement at the Palm Beach County jail hallucinated, staring at the blank wall of his cell, thinking he was watching a television show, a federal lawsuit filed Thursday alleges. A 16-year-old got his teeth knocked out by deputies after flooding his cell with toilet water when his telephone privileges...

1:53 PM Thursday, Jun. 21, 2018

One young inmate in solitary confinement at the Palm Beach County jail hallucinated, staring at the blank wall of his cell, thinking he was watching a television show, a federal lawsuit filed Thursday alleges. A 16-year-old got his teeth knocked out by deputies after flooding his cell with toilet water when his telephone privileges...
Magnets, magic mushrooms, Special K? New ways to treat depression
 Madelin Manso wanted to die. Just like designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. But instead of reaching for the noose, she grabbed a lifeline in a drug that club kids used to take to get high. The 56-year-old South Miami woman opted for one of the unorthodox treatments increasingly available for clinical depression. By taking...

4:12 PM Thursday, Jun. 14, 2018

Madelin Manso wanted to die. Just like designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain. But instead of reaching for the noose, she grabbed a lifeline in a drug that club kids used to take to get high. The 56-year-old South Miami woman opted for one of the unorthodox treatments increasingly available for clinical depression. By taking...
77 percent of state’s nursing homes don’t have permanent generators
 When a dozen seniors died last summer after temperatures reached 99 degrees in their powerless nursing home, Florida Gov. Rick Scott made it a priority to require such elder care centers be equipped with an on-site emergency power source, preferably built-in generators. Now with hurricane season gearing up — and the specter again...

11:00 PM Friday, Jun. 08, 2018

When a dozen seniors died last summer after temperatures reached 99 degrees in their powerless nursing home, Florida Gov. Rick Scott made it a priority to require such elder care centers be equipped with an on-site emergency power source, preferably built-in generators. Now with hurricane season gearing up — and the specter again...