Two doctors from Sarasota County have been sentenced to more than a dozen years in prison for prescribing opioids without proper cause in pill mill case investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Fred Turner, 60, of Sarasota, and Rosetta Cannata, 61, of Osprey, have been ordered to serve 12 years and seven months in prison, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announced Wednesday.
Both were found guilty by a jury on July 20 on charges that included dispensing controlled substances for no legitimate medical purpose and conspiring to smuggle an alien into the country.
Turner, an orthopedist, and Cannata, an anesthesiologist, operated Gulfshore Pain and Wellness Centre, a clinic with offices in Tampa and Punta Gorda, from March 2011 through July 2015. They were convicted for failing to conduct proper examinations on a regular basis, and they ignored the results of patient drug screens by prescribing excessive amounts of opiates, such as hydrocodone and morphine, according to court records.
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During the investigation, several undercover law enforcement officers entered the clinic posing as patients.
On one occasion, the two doctors asked an undercover agent to smuggle a Hungarian national into the United States. In return, Turner prescribed the agent additional oxycodone and hydromorphone, and Cannata paid him $5,000.
Turner and Cannata instructed the agent to fabricate an injury and walked him through the process of falsifying his patient history in order to justify increases in prescribed medication.