“American Greed” to feature Wellington pill mill bosses Jeff, Chris George

Jeff George (right) sits in court with his attorney, David Roth, Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 2, 2015 during his sentencing in the death of Joseph Joey Bartolucci on charges related to his operation of a pain clinic. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)
Jeff George (right) sits in court with his attorney, David Roth, Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 2, 2015 during his sentencing in the death of Joseph Joey Bartolucci on charges related to his operation of a pain clinic. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

A story on the rise and fall of Wellington twin pill mill kingpins Jeff and Chris George will air on CNBC’s “American Greed” Thursday, according to the show’s producers.

The episode will air at 10 p.m. Eastern time.

Until their arrests more than five years ago, investigators say the brothers amassed a $40 million pill mill empire that was once the largest operation of its kind in the nation.

State and federal authorities took down the operation with sweeping indictments against the brothers and dozens of others in their operation, including childhood friend, their mother and their wives.

Chris George is serving a 14-year federal prison sentence. A judge sentenced Jeff George last year to the maximum 20-year sentence which was part of a plea agreement in exchange for his testimony against his co-defendants in a case involving the death of patient Joey Bartolucci.

Ohio couple sues PBC addiction treatment center over son’s suicide

An Ohio couple is suing a Palm Beach County drug and alcohol treatment center for negligence in the 2015 suicide death of their 17-year-old son.

IMG_0001In the lawsuit filed this month in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, Steven and Susan Ashford say they entrusted Singer Island Recovery Center with their troubled son, Isaac, only to have the agency violate that trust.

Roughly two weeks after Isaac was enrolled in the treatment program, the Cincinnati youth disappeared during a field trip, according to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by West Palm Beach attorney Scott Sweigart. The center, with offices near 45th Street and Congress Avenue, failed to report Isaac missing for at least two hours and then weren’t forthcoming about where he was when he disappeared.

Two days later after his disappearance, Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies found the high school senior’s body in Royal Palm Beach. The medical examiner, who found drugs in his system, ruled the death a suicide, according to the lawsuit.

Officials at the center “should have known there was a high risk Isaac would attempt suicide” if not monitored closely, Sweigart wrote.

Officials from the center weren’t immediately available for comment.

Boca Raton couple gets 10 months jail in synthetic marijuana case

William Sands testifies in court Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.
William Sands testifies in court Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.

William and Ann Marie Sands, the couple convicted in November of selling synthetic marijuana as potpourri, will spend the next 10 months in jail.

Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley handed down the sentence Wednesday at the end of a sentencing hearing which comes three months after they tried unsuccessfully to convince a jury that they followed their attorneys’ advice and didn’t believe they were breaking the law when they sold potpourri to head shops,

Aside from the jail term, the couple will serve three years of probation. Because the couple has two children, including a disabled adult child, Kelley said the couple can apply to serve their terms on house arrest or serve their terms separately.

Assistant State Attorney Aaron Papero asked Kelley for two consecutive year-long jail terms for the couple based on their convictions on four of the nine charges they originally faced. Kelley had thrown out two of those charges before jurors began deliberation.

Ann Sands testifies in court Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.
Ann Sands testifies in court Monday, Nov. 9, 2015.

Defense attorneys Jacob Noble and Michael Maher asked for four years of probation. If the judge wanted to incarcerate the couple, Noble argued, then he could allow them to serve time on house arrest.

“This was just a bad business decision,” Noble told Kelley.

Noble said the jury convicted the couple of a level 1 offense, which puts it on par with crimes like tampering with a lottery ticket, harming turtle eggs and bigamy.

But Papero presented the judge with studies on the perils of synthetic drugs, and added that the Sandses’ operation had sales to all 50 states.

“The effects that these substances have had on people, we’ll never know,” Papero said.