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Palmetto doctor facing federal prison time

A Palmetto doctor pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute and dispense numerous controlled substances and also to conspiring to defraud Medicare, U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton announced Thursday.

Jeffrey Friedlander, 50, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison for the drug conspiracy and 10 years for the fraud conspiracy. As part of the plea agreement, he agreed to forfeit his Florida medical license.

Friedlander was licensed to practice internal medicine, neurology, pain management, and vascular and interventional radiology in Florida, according to a news release from Albritton.

He practiced primarily out of a business called Neurology and Pain Center, with clinics in Tampa, Sarasota, Lakeland, St. Petersburg, Jacksonville and Orlando.

While operating Neurology and Pain Center, Freidlander allowed unauthorized and non- medical employees to prescribe controlled substances to patients by using blank prescription forms that he pre-signed, the release said.

Undercover detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office were able to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances at NPC clinics on numerous occasions in 2008 and 2009 with little or no contact with Friedlander.

Between 2005 and March 2009, Friedlander sub- mitted false claims to Medicare for performing paravertebral facet joint block injections, when such injections had not been performed or had been performed improperly, and when some of the injections had been performed by unlicensed nonmedical persons outside Friedlander’s supervision, the release said.