Crime

Former Florida doctor gets four years in Eastern Kentucky pills case

A former South Florida doctor who helped funnel 25,000 pain pills into Eastern Kentucky has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Michael Shook, 52, was sentenced Friday in federal court in Lexington. Shook pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy to distribute oxycodone and methadone.

Shook exemplified the interstate pill pipeline that grew the past few years with thousands of Kentuckians going to Florida to get prescriptions for pain pills from unscrupulous doctors, then bringing the pills back home to sell and abuse.

When police raided Shook's Oakland Park, Fla., office in April 2010, they found files on 1,400 people, most of them from Eastern Kentucky, according to a sworn statement from one officer.

The goal at the clinic was to generate cash, not treat patients, Shook acknowledged in his plea.

Shook did minimal exams, or none at all, before writing prescriptions for powerful drugs that could be filled on site, according to his plea deal.

"The 'patient' visits were fraudulent and were not for legitimate medical purpose," Shook acknowledged in the document.

The typical prescription was for 480 oxycodone pills and 240 methadone tablets — an overprescribed amount in that combination, Shook acknowledged.

For that, the people paid $250 for the office visit and $1,700 for the pills, in cash.

He made $6,000 a week to write the prescriptions, according to a court document.

Shook helped supply a drug ring headed by James Marsillet II, who pleaded guilty to operating a continuing criminal enterprise in the Pike and Floyd county areas.

Marsillet "sponsored" carloads of people to go to Shook's office, paying for the cost of travel, the office visit and prescriptions in return for a portion of the pills, court documents say.

Shook's attorney and a family member said in court documents that greed got the best of him.

"He ended up in the hands of drug traffickers," his uncle, Charles Kalstone of South Miami, Fla., said in a letter. "What they paid him compared to what his nursing home position paid apparently made him do what he did."

Shook is the fourth out-of-state doctor since 2009 to be convicted in the federal Eastern District of Kentucky of illegally writing prescriptions for large numbers of Kentucky residents who came to their offices.

Randy Weiss of Philadelphia and Lloyd Stanley Naramore, who had an office in Cincinnati, each were sentenced to four years in prison.

Roger Browne of South Florida was sentenced to 30 months.

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