Former Georgia 'pill mill' physician gets 20 years in prison

A former Savannah, Ga.-based physician was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for healthcare fraud and illegally dispensing massive amounts of drugs, the U.S. Justice Department said

Frank Bynes operated a "pill mill" in Savannah and prescribed the most opioids of any physician in the U.S. over three years, sometimes in exchange for cash or sex. 

"Frank Bynes poured gasoline on the raging fire of the opioid addiction crisis in our country," said U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine. "He destroyed the lives of countless individuals and deservedly will swap his white coat for a prison jumpsuit."

Mr. Bynes worked at the MBA Community Clinic in Savannah and at Georgia Laboratory Diagnostic in Garden City, Ga. He prescribed about 4.6 million doses of pills during a three-year period, including opioid patches and other controlled substances. 

Many of the prescriptions he wrote were for a cocktail of opioids, alprazolam and Soma, known as the "holy trinity" drug cocktail, according to the Justice Department. He provided opioids to patients he knew were drug-addicted.

Mr. Bynes also falsely claimed to work for the Justice Department and displayed a fake police badge to intimidate patients. He exploited female patients and coerced them into providing sexual favors in exchange for prescriptions, the Justice Department said. 

He defrauded Medicaid, Medicare and Tricare in excess of $2 million in fraudulent pharmacy claims. 

Mr. Bynes was charged with 13 counts of unlawful dispensation of controlled substances and three counts of healthcare fraud. He was also ordered to pay restitution of  $615,145.06 to Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare.

The U.S. is investigating the pharmacies that filled illegitimate prescriptions from Mr. Bynes. 

Read the full news release here

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