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Doctor arrested in what investigators say was worst pill mill in Pinellas

PINELLAS PARK — Authorities on Thursday arrested a doctor they said was filling out the prescriptions in the largest, most flagrant pill mill in Pinellas County history.

After a nearly two-year investigation, Dr. Jacinta Irene Gillis was arrested on charges of racketeering, money laundering and conspiracy to traffic in oxycodone.

Authorities say Gillis was operating pill mills from her Dollar Medical Clinics at 4427 Park Blvd. in Pinellas Park and in Lehigh Acres in Lee County.

Discussing the investigation for the first time Thursday, Pinellas County sheriff's detectives painted a picture of abuse:

Over two years, Gillis, 41, deposited $1.3 million in cash in seven bank accounts and appeared to pay employees in cash. She scheduled five patients every 15 minutes, commonly seeing more than 60 patients a day, some by webcam. She presigned prescriptions. She had no other doctors, nurses or physician assistants, and many of her employees had criminal records.

"She was not practicing medicine per se," said Pinellas sheriff's Capt. Robert Alfonso of the narcotics division.

Gillis previously talked to a Fort Myers television station about allegations that she was running a pill mill and said: "I've never been near any of these illegal activities. The only things I have are my practices, which are legit. I've been victimized by the war against drugs."

Authorities first raided her clinics in October. The Pinellas County Justice and Consumer Services Department cited her for operating a pain management clinic without a license.

In 33 patient records seized that day — a snapshot of her operation, deputies said — authorities found that patients got 106,929 opioid pills and 29,890 methadone pills. Oxycodone was the most commonly prescribed drug. Moreover, deputies said, every patient received prescription drugs.

Deputies cited numerous other issues that called into question her medical practices. Most patients interviewed by detectives said they had received an exam, but that the exam measured nothing more than flexibility, blood pressure and weight.

Gillis was booked into the Lee County Jail. Bail was set at $1 million.

Doctor arrested in what investigators say was worst pill mill in Pinellas 04/28/11 [Last modified: Thursday, April 28, 2011 11:39pm]
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