Thursday, April 26, 2018
Politics

Former political fundraiser out of prison, gets medical license back

TALLAHASSEE — Convicted Broward County fraudster Alan Mendelsohn is out of prison — and able to practice medicine again after the state returned his license last week.

Mendelsohn, a Hollywood eye doctor who raised millions for Florida politicians, served two years and six months in federal prison for his role in a highly publicized political corruption case.

He was released in July, his attorney Alvin Entin said.

Mendelsohn's medical license, which had been suspended following his conviction in 2011, was reinstated on Aug. 1, records show. The state Board of Medicine ordered three years' probation and 10 hours of ethics training.

Entin said Mendelsohn's conviction did not involve his work in medicine.

"By all indications, at the time of the sentencing, he was a very well respected, very competent, very talented doctor," Entin said. "People get messed up in politics all of the time."

Before his arrest, Mendelsohn was a Tallahassee power broker whose influence extended across the state.

He served on former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist's transition team and was the chief fundraiser for the Florida Medical Association's political committee.

In 2010, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government by failing to report some $700,000 in income he had secretly diverted from campaign donations and lobbying clients.

He spent the money on a mistress, a luxury car, home renovations and his children's private high school tuition, according to court records.

Mendelsohn was sentenced to four years in prison. His incarceration was cut short at the discretion of the warden, his attorney said.

The investigation into his influence-peddling scheme also led to the arrest of former state Sen. Mandy Dawson, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat to whom Mendelsohn had funneled $82,000 in secret payments.

Dawson was sentenced to six months in prison in 2012 for failing to report the money to the IRS.

She was released the following year — but later admitted she had violated her probation by using cocaine, according to court records.

In June, she was arrested in her Daytona Beach home on a probation violation, records show. Federal officials said she had failed a drug test and not paid court-ordered restitution.

Dawson was the first black woman from Broward County to be elected to the state Legislature. She served a combined 16 years in the Florida House and Senate.

She is being held at the Federal Detention Center in Miami, records show. A court appearance has been scheduled for Aug. 18.

Calls to her attorney were not returned.

Mendelsohn, meanwhile, is likely to return to his ophthalmology practice, Eye Surgeons and Consultants, later this week, his attorney said.

"I'm looking forward to it," Entin added. "He's my eye doctor. He's a good one."

Contact Kathleen McGrory at [email protected]

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