>More than a dozen Broward Sheriff’s deputies allegedly obtained steroids, growth hormones and other drugs through fraudulent prescriptions between 2005 and 2008, a BSO investigation has found.
BSO Sgt. Lisa McElhaney, an expert prescription drug investigator, wrote in her report, that “there is evidence to support numerous violations” of Florida law regarding obtaining a controlled substance by fraud.
The report does not indicate if the deputies involved were aware that their prescriptions were fraudulent.
McElhaney said in the report, which was finalized on Jan. 9, 2009, that the case was forwarded to BSO Internal Affairs for further review at the direction of BSO top brass. McElhaney was reassigned shortly after submitting her findings and is no longer involved in the case. The reason for her transfer has not been made clear.
The investigation found that 15 deputies and one civilian obtained muscle-building drugs such as Nandralone, Stanozolol and Testosterone Cypionate and the erectile dysfunction drugs Viagra and Cialis, using prescriptions that had not been authorized.
Without explanation, those findings have been under review by the Internal Affairs Division for the past two years, even though two doctors whose names are on the prescriptions authorizing the drugs gave statements saying the prescriptions were bogus.
“I think it’s is still open, but I’ll check,” BSO Media Relations Jim Leljedal said. He did not respond further prior to publishing deadlines.
The probe was conducted by the Drug Diversion Unit of BSO’s Strategic Investigations Division. The case was presented to the Broward State Attorney’s Office (SAO) but BSO opened an Internal Affairs review. Ron Ishoy, Broward State Attorney’s Office spokesman, said as a result the office did not open a file over the matter.
Ishoy said in an e-mail response to questions from South Florida Times that he checked with Tim Donnelly, director of the SAO’s Special Investigations Division. Donnelly, he, recalled that the SAO had been asked “for some guidance” about PowerMedica, a Deerfield Beach pharmaceutical company that had been raided by BSO and the Food and Drug Administration in 2005. He said the Sheriff’s Office, then headed by Ken Jenne, had decided to handle the matter administratively.
McElhaney’s investigation was a follow up to the raid on PowerMedica. The items seized included dozens of prescriptions and invoices indicating BSO deputies were customers. PowerMedica distributed steroids, anti-aging drugs and medications to combat impotence. The company shut down eight months after the raid and founder Daniel L. Daily transferred his operations to another Deerfield Beach company he founded called Metragen.
Asked to comment, the FDA referred calls from South Florida Times to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
According to federal court records, Daily, 50, pleaded guilty in 2010 to conspiring to distribute human growth hormones and steroids. He has not been transferred to the Federal Bureau of Prisons but remains in federal custody as inmate 91427-004 at an undisclosed location.
The BSO deputies being mentioned in the case range in rank from supervisors to sergeants and lieutenants and some are females. The investigation found that deputies obtained the medications from local drug stores and anti-aging clinics without seeing or being examined by a doctor.
The drug stores and medical facilities named in the report include Medical Arts Pharmacy Services, Lifestyle Rejuvenation Center and Medical Arts Therapy all located in Coral Springs as well as Custom Compounding Pharmacy and Central Express Pharmacy located in Pembroke Pines.
According to the report, Lancelot James of Parkland is the principal owner of those businesses and it also states that Nathan Moy of Miramar is the “Owner and operator of Custom Compounding Pharmacy, partners with Lancelot James.”
Efforts to reach James and Moy were unsuccessful. Several calls made to the businesses found some of the numbers disconnected and others were unanswered.
McElhaney, who headed the investigation, serves as vice-president of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. The non-profit group collaborates with law enforcement, doctors and pharmaceutical companies to combat prescription drug abuse and trafficking.
Her investigation into BSO deputies’ involvement in steroids included interviews with current and former employees of the pharmacies, as well as the doctors whose names are on the prescriptions. Video surveillance was conducted and credit card payments, bank statements and pharmacy invoices were linked to the 16 deputies named in McElhaney’s report. The dates and amount of drugs the deputies allegedly obtained, along with their costs, were also documented in the report.
The bulk of the questionable prescriptions bore the names of Dr. William Lucky of Miami and Dr. Leroy Smith of Fort Lauderdale. Several calls from South Florida Times to their offices went unanswered and neither responded to messages left seeking comment.
The doctors did give sworn statements denying ever seeing the deputies as patients.
Lucky said he had been promised $2,000 per week but never received any money. He left Lifestyle Rejuvenation Center after three months and said any prescriptions bearing his name after December 2005 were “fraudulently manufactured.”
Smith said James offered him $1,500 a week, plus cash bonuses for prescriptions he signed, but he turned the offer down after checking with state medical regulators.
“Dr. Smith advised that he never treated any patients but he got conned into signing 40-50 prescriptions a Dr. Lucky [sic]; he advised that Dr. Lucky had seen the patients and that he was unavailable and they needed to FedEx out the medications to customers,” the report states. “Dr. Smith went on to state that, “And I knew that was wrong” and he advised the Board of Medicine of his actions and he was advised to cease and desist any further activity.”
“I did not see these patients and I did not authorize prescriptions,” Smith told investigators when they showed him the prescription forms, according to the report.