Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Doctor gets five years for peddling prescriptions

TAMPA — Dr. Sanjeev Grover's attorney said it was as if the doctor wanted to get caught and go to prison. If so, Grover got his wish Monday.

A federal judge sentenced the Lutz resident to five years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for dispensing and distributing illegal prescriptions for the painkiller oxycodone in exchange for thousands of dollars in cash.

"You knew you would get caught," U.S. District Court Judge James Whittemore said. "You knew you would lose your medical license. You knew you would go to jail ... I'm disappointed. Society is disappointed. Your family is disappointed. And most of all, you're disappointed."

The doctor, arrested in October, had pleaded guilty earlier this year.

Grover was the subject of a Tampa Bay Times story published the day of his sentencing. He told a reporter that it was simple greed that motivated him, and he talked of being shaken by the deaths of patients for whom he had written prescriptions.

"To this day, I'm haunted by the memory of these young kids dying," he told the Times. "I'm haunted by the fact that I fed into a system that's totally corrupted, and now it's too late."

Grover's attorney, Patrick Doherty, told Whittemore his client wrote prescriptions knowing he would get caught. Grover engaged in self-loathing, self-destructive behavior, a probable effect of the depression he suffers.

The newspaper story was just another sign of that, Doherty said. "Why would you say that today?" he told the judge, referring to the story. "The answer is, I think he's trying to sabotage what's going on today."

Doherty said Grover was exceptionally intelligent and was capable of earning a good salary without breaking the law, making his behavior all the more difficult to understand.

"It isn't greed," Doherty said. "It's something he's more embarrassed about than greed."

He said Grover was taken into custody last week under the Baker Act and hospitalized after recent talk of suicide.

The sentence could have been significantly worse for Grover, who already has lost his medical license and faced 20 years in prison.

Whittemore's sentence was below the guideline range recommended by prosecutors, which was 87 months to 108 months.

The judge said Grover had mental health issues and had not been linked to any drug-trafficking organization. Whittemore also noted Grover did not have the usual excuse used by doctors charged with writing bad prescriptions — their own drug abuse.

And Grover, the judge noted, has already lost so much. "You have no business ever being entrusted with a patient's care again,'' Whittemore said. "You know that."

What was particularly puzzling about the case, Doherty said, was that Grover made no pretense of treating the patients for whom he wrote prescriptions, as many doctors in similar circumstances do.

Grover, who earned as much as $5,000 a week, worked for pain clinics in Zephyrhills and Palm Harbor. Where some physicians might have given an addict a cursory physical, Grover met with a patient in a Burger King parking lot to hand over his prescriptions.

Grover's wife, and his son and daughter, attended the hearing. His family said Grover's spiral began after they moved to Florida seven years ago. He failed in a practice as a pediatrician, they said, and became depressed.

"It was his depression that caused him to do this," said his son Aditya Grover, a student at the University of South Florida. He said his father is a different man when he properly takes medication to treat his illness. "He's lost so much because of his depression."

The father cried at the son's words. And then Grover addressed the judge, apologizing to his family, offering no excuses for his behavior.

"I took them on an emotional roller-coaster because of my actions," Grover said.

Noting that Grover's son wants to be a physician himself, Whittemore said the sentencing provided something of a lesson.

The judge said, "He's learning a lot more than he needs to learn today."

William R. Levesque can be reached at or (813) 226-3432.

Doctor gets five years for peddling prescriptions 05/14/12 [Last modified: Monday, May 14, 2012 11:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Senate Obamacare effort dies; Rubio in favor of repeal, Nelson against


    WASHINGTON - The Senate Republican effort to Obamacare failed early Friday, with John McCain providing a decisive vote.

    The Senate vote
  2. Senate ponders health care bill it doesn't want to be law


    Buoyed by a signal from House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a pared-down health care bill late Thursday that he hoped would keep alive Republican ambitions to repeal Obamacare.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., left, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., expressed concerns about passing the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare without assurances of further negotiations.
  3. Arrest made in shooting death of 19-year-old found in lot


    A 20-year-old Tampa man was arrested Thursday night for the shooting death of a 19-year-old whose body was discovered in a vacant lot on Tuesday.

  4. Rays fall to Yankees in 11 on Brett Gardner homer (w/ video)

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — The front office did its part Thursday, making two trades to bolster the roster in a push for the playoffs. But the Rays didn't follow up in a frustrating 6-5 11-inning loss to the Yankees.

    Rays reliever Andrew Kittredge stands on the mound and can only watch as the Yankees’ Brett Gardner starts to circle the bases after his walkoff home run leading off the 11th inning.
  5. Believe it! Rays are buyers, trade for reliever Dan Jennings and 1B/DH Lucas Duda

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — Dan Jennings' ability to render lefty hitters useless with a sinker that gets beaten into the ground and Lucas Duda's power to blast baseballs off and over outfield walls should make the Rays better.

    Lucas Duda