Monday, April 07, 2014

Drs. Joseph Castronuovo and Cynthia Cadet sentenced

You remember them -- they were acquitted of all the drug charges in front of Judge Marra a few weeks back.  But they were convicted of money laundering.  Many thought they would get very low sentences because of the acquittals. Not so much.  From the Sun-Sentinel:
It seemed like a victory for two doctors last summer when a jury cleared them of federal charges they had caused the overdose deaths of eight patients they treated at some of South Florida's most notorious pill mills.
But both doctors were found guilty of money laundering and a federal judge meted out stiff punishments for those convictions on Friday, saying there was no way the highly educated professionals did not know they were supplying oxycodone to drug dealers and addicts.
Dr. Joseph Castronuovo, who turns 75 in a few days, was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison. Soon after, Dr. Cynthia Cadet, 43, of Parkland, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in federal prison.
Both are scheduled to surrender to prison authorities in June. Their lawyers said they intend to appeal and hope to be allowed to remain free on bond while the case is going through the appellate courts.
***
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra said he carefully followed the jury's verdict that acquitted Cadet of charges that she contributed to the deaths of six of her patients and Castronuovo of causing the deaths of two of his patients.
But he said it was inconceivable that the two doctors, who had stellar reputations, did not know what was going on at the pain clinics, or pill mills.
Former staff and patients testified there were garbage cans filled with cash in the clinics and "patients" who traveled by car from Appalachia to South Florida to get massive prescriptions of pills were clearly addicts. Practically every patient received almost identical doses of the drugs, prosecutors said, and many of them sold those prescriptions to drug dealers, who traded them in rural communities far from South Florida.
Marra referred to security video footage that showed the waiting room at the clinic where Cadet had worked.
"The chaos, the madness that was going on in that facility," made it obvious to all what was going on there, Marra said. He gave the doctors the benefit of the doubt for the first few months they worked at the clinics but said they definitely knew they were working for a criminal operation but continued to take their salaries, which came from tainted funds, he said.
"It's just impossible not to have known that the people were drug addicts," the judge said.
 In other District news from last week, Scott Rothstein's former partner Russell Adler pleaded guilty last week to a count with a 5-year cap.  He avoids the risk of decades in prison.  I don't know any of the facts of Adler's case, but in general I wonder how many innocent people take deals like this to avoid the huge trial penalties that we see in the criminal system.  Tell me in the comments what you think: What percentage of our inmates are innocent people who took a deal to avoid the risks of trial?

8 comments:

Rumpole said...

The trial tax is the single biggest impediment the sixth amendment right to trial. And Judges who let prosecutors punish defendants for going to trial bear most of the blame

Anonymous said...

You right rump. You da man. Run for judge and spare us from these punitive punks.

Anonymous said...

One man's trial penalty is another man's guilty plea discount.

Anonymous said...

If frame the question as "What percentage of pleading federal criminal defendants plead to conduct worse or more extensive than what they actually did in order to avoid the 'trial penalty' at sentencing?" I would say 90%.

Anonymous said...

I would say 15% take pleas when they believe themselves to be innocent

Anonymous said...

18 months in the face of a 20 year mm, with gl at life is pretty freaking good....so is 6 and a half

Anonymous said...

Why ask that in a white collar case? Go to state court and see how many people enter a no contest plea to a bogus charge following some very questionable arrest. Plea no contest and go home or stay in jail and wait for a cop to testify how you took "combative stance" or some other nonsense. 100% chance that person is poor and mostly minority. Years later KMM will make those NC pleas sound like you were a one-man crime wave.

Anonymous said...

2:11 PM - you would say 90% but you would be wrong. I would say about 90% of federal defendants plead to less than they did and keep substantial proceeds hidden. Let's face it, even if it were possible to find out all that the average fraudster did, we do not have enough resources to investigate it all thoroughly.