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South Florida man reaches plea deal on tax evasion, other charges

In recent years, Florida has ramped up its efforts to combat drug crimes in the state. It has passed new laws and, in conjunction with federal agencies, has conducted many investigations into drug activity. One Florida man, arrested under these increased efforts, entered a guilty plea this week to a number of charges against him, including tax evasion, money laundering and drug crimes.

According to the complaint against him, the man ran a medication dispensing operation in South Florida. He first opened a number of clinics and advertised aggressively on the Internet to entice patients suffering from pain to come to his clinics. He offered them oxycodone prescriptions for hundreds of dollars and doctored their urine samples to prove they actually needed the medication. To satisfy demand, he used doctors who were willing to write large prescriptions.

In less than three years he earned approximately $22 million from the clinics, which have also come to be known as "pill mills." The Internal Revenue Service entered the picture because he failed to pay taxes on this income. Although it may seem strange at first, even income earned from illegal activities is taxable. It is not uncommon to see criminal defendants with money-making operations charged with tax evasion because they never reported their earnings.

Under the plea deal, the man will serve a prison sentence of up to 20 years and must give the government millions of dollars he acquired through the operation. In addition to the IRS, state law enforcement and the Drug Enforcement Agency participated in the case, which shows that criminal defendants can have to contend with a mountain of evidence presented against them.

Source: The Palm Beach Post, "Pill mill magnate pleads guilty, will hand over $12 million," Paula McMahon, April 3, 2012.

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