SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A local doctor has been found guilty of running a “pill mill” operation that included prescribing drugs to people he knew were addicted and were supposed to be in his care.
Dr. Frank H. Bynes Jr. has been found guilty on 16 counts after a three and a half-day trial. That includes 13 counts of Unlawful Dispensation of Controlled Substances and three counts of Health Care Fraud.
Each of the counts of Unlawful Dispensation of Controlled Substances carries a penalty up to 20 years in prison, followed by a period of supervised release. Health Care Fraud carries a penalty of 10 years for each of the counts. There is no parole in the federal system.
Bynes will be sentenced at a later date. He worked at the MBA Community Clinic in Savannah, also known as MBA Diabetic Shoe and Supply Store. He also worked at Georgia Laboratory Diagnostic in Garden City, where he wrote prescriptions for massive quantities of narcotics.
Evidence shows Bynes was prescribing to some people who he knew had suffered an overdose. Many of these prescriptions were for the known “holy trinity” drug cocktail of opioids, alprazolam, and Soma.
He also engaged in unprofessional sexual conduct with female patients, using his prescribing as a tool to coerce them. He also collected pictures of his female patients on his phone and e-mail accounts, including hundreds of women who he prescribed controlled substances.
While operating his illegal pill mill, Bynes lied and said he worked for the Department of Justice and displayed false law enforcement credentials to his patients and others.
In addition, Bynes defrauded Medicaid, Medicare, and Tricare, resulting in excess of $2 million in fraudulent pharmacy claims.
“For years, Dr. Bynes manipulated his patients and helped fuel one of the worst public health epidemics in Georgia’s history,” said Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. “I am hopeful that the jury’s verdict may now begin the healing process for the many individuals and families afflicted by Dr. Bynes’ illegal prescribing practices.”
“The dispensing of addictive prescription pain medication under the guise of a doctor’s care is not about the good of the community or an individual’s specific health needs; it is about greed," stated Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). "Individuals like Dr. Bynes who are involved in ‘pill mill’ activity are drug dealers who are licensed to wear white coats and carry stethoscopes. The guilty verdict makes the Savannah area a safer place today.”
“I am both excited and saddened by Doctor Frank Bynes’ conviction. One of the oldest oaths in history, which doctors completing medical school still take today in various versions, states the ethical and moral obligations that doctors have to their patients. While the vast majority of the country’s licensed physicians are caring and conscientious individuals who hold the oath as inviolate, there are a minority of doctors that violate the sacred pledge they have taken and violate the trust of their patients. Sadly, in this case, Dr. Bynes chose to violate his oath in exchange for sexual and financial gain,” said Everett Ragan, Director of the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team (CNT). “In doing so, Dr. Bynes not only violated his oath but also violated the trust of his patients, flooding the Chatham County community and Southeast region with these very dangerous and addictive narcotic/opioid pain medications. I take pride in knowing the Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team played a major role in dismantling Dr. Bynes and his unlawful dispensation of controlled substances, and am thankful he can no longer poison our community.”
If you were a victim of Bynes, call Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Thomas Clarkson at 912.652.4422.