Henry Battagliola, Mark Cukierman, Kyin Sein Ho, and Edward Jose Mila Prats of South Florida were charged with operating an unlicensed pain clinic this past week, news sources report. Battagliola, 46, of Parkland; Cukierman, 57, of Boca Raton; and Ho, 71, of Fort Lauderdale turned themselves over to police on Thursday. They were each booked into police custody on charges of operating a non-registered pain medical clinic and conspiracy to traffic oxycodone. Prats remains at large and is wanted on the same charges. It is unclear whether the defendants qualified for bail. It is also unclear whether they have all hired criminal defense lawyers.
According to reports, the defendants were all involved in Boca East Pain Management in Boca Raton. Battagliola owned the clinic before it was forced to close. Detectives say Battagliola holds a chiropractic license, which, under Florida Law, restricts him from prescribing narcotics. Battagliola received the license in 1981; he also has a chiropractic license that he received in 1976. Reports indicate that Battagliola has a history of disciplinary actions, though the details of those actions remain unknown.
Cukierman received his medical doctor’s license in 2001, sources say. In 2012, police fined Cukierman $50,000 for prescribing patients oxycodone and Xanax with no valid reason while he was employed by a Boynton Beach clinic. Detectives also arrested Cukierman in August 2012 on charges of trafficking controlled substances while he was working at a Pompano Beach clinic. Cukierman’s attorney commented on the arrests, saying, “[The police are] trying to pressure doctors not to work at pain management clinics. And in doing that, they’re unfortunately arresting and continuing to arrest legitimate doctors.”
Official revoked Boca East Pain Management’s license to prescribe prescription narcotics in 2010; however, the Department of Health discovered in May 2011 that the clinic was continuing to prescribe the narcotics. Detectives launched an investigation into the clinic, dubbed “Operation Take as Needed.” During the investigation, detectives reportedly learned that the doctors were prescribing narcotics, such as oxycodone, despite not having a license to do so.
In other news, Martha Barrios of Lake Worth was arrested Thursday after she called 911 to report a crime that did not actually happen, reports say. Barrios, 21, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on charges of falsely reporting a crime. She was later released on her own recognizance. It is not yet known whether she has hired legal representation.
According to reports, the incident occurred around 8:30 Thursday evening. Barrios called 911 and said that a man had broken into her home, beat her with a gun, and tried to steal her TV. Barrios claimed she had called to her brother to dial 911 and the suspect fled.
Detectives arrived on the scene and searched for the criminal for an hour using a helicopter and K-9 units. During a second questioning, Barrios allegedly changed the story and said the suspect was, in fact, her boyfriend. However, when the detectives questioned her a third time, Barrios said she had made the entire story up. “I was mad at my boyfriend and wanted to get him back,” she allegedly said.