South Florida Doctor Sentenced to 78 Months in Prison for Participating in a Conspiracy to Illegally Dispense Opioids and Other Drugs
Dr. Andres Mencia, 64, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida was sentenced today to 78 months in prison, after having been convicted by a federal jury in South Florida, of participating in a conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg for the Southern District of Florida; Special Agent in Charge Adolphus P. Wright of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Shimon R. Richmond of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); and Special Agent in Charge Mark Selby of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
“The opioid epidemic is ravaging communities across the country,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “It is especially disturbing when doctors — like Andres Mencia — disregard their oaths to ‘do no harm’ in exchange for lining their pockets with illicit profits. The Criminal Division is dedicated to fighting the opioid epidemic by aggressively investigating and prosecuting those healthcare providers who, rather than help those in need, contribute to the opioid epidemic by writing medically unnecessary prescriptions for highly addictive and harmful painkillers. Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated prosecutors and law enforcement partners, Mencia now faces serious consequences for his crimes.”
“Dr. Mencia has been held accountable in a court of law for casting aside his medical ethics to illegally distribute controlled substances and fuel the opioid epidemic,” said U.S. Attorney Greenberg. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners remain committed to do everything possible to protect the community from the dangers of opioid abuse and addiction.”
“Today’s sentencing of Dr. Mencia serves as evidence that medical professionals who unethically and illegally dispense highly addictive opioid medication unnecessarily will be subject to prosecution.” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Wright. “Together with our law enforcement partners, the DEA Miami Field Division continues its commitment to protecting our communities from all forms of illegal practices that result in drug addiction.”
“Dr. Mencia violated the law and his Hippocratic oath to do no harm,” said HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge Richmond. “Health professionals who profit by prescribing poisonous opioids can expect to face the law’s full weight.”
According to evidence admitted at trial, Dr. Mencia ran Adult & Geriatric Institute of Florida lnc, d/b/a AGI Medical & Dental (AGI), in Oakland Park, Florida.
Beginning in or around January 2014 and continuing through October 2017, Dr. Mencia, and office personnel Oscar Luis Ventura-Rodriguez, 41, of Ft. Lauderdale; Nadira Sampath-Grant, 51, of Margate, and John Mensah, 50, of Miami, conspired to perform sham consultations with cash-paying patients. The evidence showed that the true and intended purpose of the consultations was to improperly issue the patients’ prescriptions for opioids and narcotics, such as Oxycodone, OxyContin and Percocet, in exchange for cash payments.
Pursuant to Dr. Mencia’s instructions, co-conspirators kept track of the drug-seeking patients by identifying them as “CS” (controlled substance) “patients.” On occasion, Dr. Mencia provided his co-conspirators pre-signed prescriptions to issue the “CS” patients prescriptions for controlled substances in his name. During the course of the conspiracy, Dr. Mencia was not providing a medically meaningful consultation but was in fact acting outside the scope of his professional practice and without legitimate medical purpose.
Ventura-Rodriguez, Sampath-Grant and Mensah previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States by unlawfully distributing controlled substances. U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas sentenced the conspirators as follows:
Dr. Mencia was sentenced to 78 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, along with a $4,800 forfeiture and $250,000 fine. Ventura-Rodriguez was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $396,428.18 in restitution, jointly and severally. Sampath-Grant was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $396,428 in restitution. Mensah was sentenced to time-served, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $132,142 in restitution.
The investigation was conducted by DEA, HHS-OIG and HSI. The Aventura Police Department, City of Miami Police Department, Miami-Dade Police Department, and Miami Gardens Police Department assisted in the investigation. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gilfarb of the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Adam G. Yoffie of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
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