‘American Pain’: Former Wellington pill mill kingpins Chris, Jeff George subjects of CNN documentary

Just over ten years ago, Jeff and Chris George, twin brothers from Wellington, gained the infamous title of Palm Beach County’s leaders of illegal prescription drug trafficking, operating the nation’s largest pill-mill network.

Federal authorities estimated that during their operation’s peak from 2008 to 2010, the clinics owned by the George brothers in Broward and Palm Beach counties generated more than $40 million in revenue by dispensing approximately 20 million doses of oxycodone. At least 50 deaths were attributed to overdose during this time period.

The CNN documentary, titled “American Pain,” is scheduled to debut on Feb. 5 and will focus on the adventures of the George brothers. The film had its first showing at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

EXCLUSIVE Palm Beach Post investigation: How Florida sparked the heroin crisis.

Jeff George (right) sits in court with his attorney, David Roth, Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 2, 2015 during his sentencing in the death of Joseph Joey Bartolucci on charges related to his operation of a pain clinic.

The story of the American drug epidemic in history was fueled by the pharmaceutical industry, which pumped out billions of addictive and potent pills. Among the colorful cast of characters who made millions during Florida’s pill mill boom, the biggest players were the brothers George. “The Sunshine State since the 1980s is the greatest drug racket hit,” said Darren Foster, director, in a prepared statement.

The Post conducted thorough inquiries into the oxycodone crisis.

The operations of the George brothers included the mafia, as well as the ex-spouse of Palm Beach socialite Roxanne Pulitzer.

The Palm Beach Post, located in South Florida, has received numerous awards for its comprehensive coverage of the oxycodone epidemic and the explosion of pill mills across the country.

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The Palm Beach Post won awards for its extensive coverage of the oxycodone epidemic and later in an award-winning investigation uncovered how these multimillion-dollar operations in Florida created the heroin epidemic that swept the country.

George Dianna and Haggerty, both charged with wire fraud, were sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison. George, a prominent home builder, and his wife Dianna, a former stripper, hid millions of cash in their attic, including cash from George’s father and the entire George family. Authorities investigated the entire family, including George’s father, John, and mother, Denice, who was a former stripper. The family was targeted in state and federal probes, not only for overprescribing pills but also for the murder of users who died from the pills.

In an award-winning investigation later uncovered by The Washington Post, it was revealed how these multimillion-dollar operations created the heroin epidemic that has swept the country, igniting the Heroin Epidemic series. Authorities in Florida once clamped down on those addicted to opioids, who later turned to heroin and suffered from pain clinics in South Florida, where the rogue clinics in Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia West, and beyond thrived.

The George brothers: Identical masterminds behind some of the most audacious pain clinics in South Florida.

Striking a deal: Chris George, the leader of a pill mill, receives a reduced sentence for providing information on doctors.

George pleads guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for cooperation and is subsequently headed to prison.

Since pleading guilty to federal racketeering charges in 2011, one of the 42-year-old twin brothers has been released from custody while the other remains incarcerated.

After agreeing to testify in the federal trial, the two doctors who worked at his clinics were accused of contributing to eight patient deaths. Initially, he was sentenced to 17 and a half years in prison, but his sentence was reduced to 14 years after 14 years. According to records from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, George Chris was released from federal prison in February 2022.

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Despite the testimony of a jury, Drs. Joseph Castronuovo and Cynthia Cadet were cleared of charges related to patient deaths, only finding them guilty of money laundering.

As per the records of the Florida Department of Corrections, Jeff George was given a 20-year sentence and is currently under federal custody. His anticipated date of release is in January 2030.

Sign up now. Aid in backing our efforts: Julius Whigham II serves as a reporter specializing in criminal justice and public safety for The Palm Beach Post. You can contact him via email at jwhigham@pbpost.Com and stay updated with his updates on Twitter under the handle @JuliusWhigham.

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