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Tampa pain clinic raid leads to money laundering charge

TAMPA — The manager of a pain clinic raided Monday is now accused of laundering $100,000 or more.

Jorge Marc Bentancourt-Gonzalez, 50, of Odessa faces a felony charge of money laundering. He was arrested late Monday and released on $15,000 bail.

Tampa police say Bentancourt-Gonzalez conducted the day-to-day operations at First Medical Group, 2614 N Dale Mabry Highway. "He was running the show there," police spokesman Jim Contento said.

Police served a search warrant at 1:45 p.m. Monday at the clinic after nearby businesses called attention to the large number of people coming and going.

Gonzalez, who also goes by George Marcelino Gonzalez and Richard Luis Colmone, has been arrested several times in Hills­borough County since 1982, court records show.

He served one year of probation and was fined $876 after being charged with attempted patient brokering. A state informer referred patients to Gonzalez's clinic and received payment for referrals over an eight-month period, records showed.

The clinic will likely close because police took many of its records as evidence during the raid, Contento said.

"I don't think they can function right now," he said.

No doctors are listed by name on the clinic's website. A nurse practitioner who is listed could not be found in state licensing records.

Tampa is among several bay area governments cracking down on pain clinics, which law enforcement agencies say sometimes dispense pain medications after asking few questions.

In May, the City Council passed an emergency ordinance requiring pain clinic operators to seek special permits and allowing police to inspect the businesses when they're open or occupied.

Contento said that similar businesses should take Monday's raid as a warning. He said Tampa drug investigators are aware of local pain clinics that may be operating outside the law and they will use the new ordinance to crack down on them.

"We're trying to put these pain clinics out of business," he said.

Times staff writer Robbyn Mitchell contributed to this report.

Tampa pain clinic raid leads to money laundering charge 07/27/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 12:21am]
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