Savannah doctor found guilty for operating “pill mill”
SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTGS) – A Savannah doctor has been found guilty on 16 counts of dispensing controlled substances for cash on Friday.
Dr. Frank H. Bynes Jr. was found guilty by a federal jury on 13 counts of unlawful dispensation of controlled substances and three counts of health care fraud, according to officials.
Officials say according to court testimony and documents, Bynes worked at the MBA Community Clinic in Savannah and at Georgia Laboratory Diagnostic in Garden City, where he wrote prescriptions for massive quantities of narcotics. Many of those prescriptions were for the known “holy trinity” drug cocktail of opioids, alprazolam and Soma. These drugs were provided to large numbers of patients, including those who Bynes knew were addicted to controlled substances. According to evidence introduced at trial, Bynes prescribed the deadly drug cocktail more frequently to Medicare patients than any other physician in the United States.
While operating his illegal “pill mill”, Bynes falsely claimed to work for the Department of Justice and displayed false law enforcement credentials to his patients and others. Bynes also engaged in unprofessional sexual conduct with female patients, using his prescribing as a tool to coerce female patients, according to officials.
“The actions of Dr. Bynes are especially shocking in their massive scope, with countless individuals suffering because of the products of his illegal pill mill, including cocktails of opioids and other controlled substances, which he distributed to feed the addictions of people who were supposed to be in his care,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “Medical professionals who violate their oaths and ethics while violating the law will find no safe haven in the Southern District, and we will be relentless in shutting down these white-coated drug dealers.”
Among other evidence introduced at trial, Bynes collected photographs of his female patients in his phone and e-mail accounts, including hundreds of women to whom he prescribed controlled substances. Evidence also included documents establishing Bynes knew multiple patients suffered an overdose, yet Bynes disregarded numerous warnings to continue to prescribe the drug cocktail on which his patients had overdosed. In addition, Bynes defrauded Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare, resulting in more than $2 million in fraudulent pharmacy claims, according to officials.
“Today’s verdict underscores the egregious criminal conduct of Dr. Bynes,” says Derrick L. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge for Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) in Atlanta. “For a physician to engage in sexual acts with patients while writing an inordinate amount of unnecessary and fraudulent opioid prescriptions goes against the very oath he has taken to ‘first, do no harm.’ HHS OIG will continue to work with our partners to protect the health and well-being of all Americans.”
Bynes will be sentenced at a later date.
Source: ABC news