DETROIT, MI – U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced on Wednesday, March 9th, 2016, that a superseding indictment was unsealed charging three doctors and seven other individuals with conspiracy to illegally distribute prescription drugs.
McQuade was joined in the announcement by Acting Special Agent in Charge David A. Grant of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA), Detroit Field Division, and Jared Koopman, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.
Charged in the superseding indictment are:
Dr. Boris Zigmond, D.C., 50, of West Bloomfield
Dr. Jennifer Franklin, M.D., 39, of Harrison Township
Dr. Carlos Godoy, M.D., 78, of Farmington Hills
Rodney Knight, 32, of Highland Park
Tara Marcia Jackson, 53, of Detroit
Sashanti Morris, 44, of Detroit
Anna Fradlis, 61, of West Bloomfield
Maryna Pitsenko, 46, of Sterling Heights
Svetlana Sribna, 64, of Sterling Heights
Marina Jacobs, 44, of West Bloomfield
The superseding indictment alleges that from January 2013, through May 2015, Zigmond was the leader of a large-scale prescription drug trafficking organization. The purpose of the organization was to secure written prescriptions from medical doctors for controlled substances, primarily Roxicodone, and its generic equivalent Oxycodone that could be filled at various pharmacies. The superseding indictment states that Zigmond’s organization distributed approximately 1 million pills and grossed approximately $5.7 million from trafficking these pills on the illegal market. The prescriptions for these highly addictive drugs were written outside the course of usual medical practice and for no legitimate purpose.
The superseding indictment further alleges that Zigmond, a chiropractor, did not see patients himself or write prescriptions but rather used co-defendants Rodney Knight, Tara Jackson and Sashanti Morris as “marketers” or “patient recruiters,” who would pay money directly to Zigmond or Zigmond’s assistants. The assistants would then schedule appointments with co-defendants Dr. Franklin and Dr. Godoy. Each appointment cost $500-$600 cash and the “marketer” paid the money prior to a phony patient being seen by either Franklin or Godoy.
“Diversion of prescription pills to the street market promotes the addiction to painkillers that leads to overdose deaths,” McQuade said. “We are focusing on charging doctors, pharmacists and the networks that are putting this poison on the streets.”
DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge David A. Grant stated, “The arrests today are just one example of DEA’s determination and commitment to combat the troubling prescription drug abuse problem in this country. The doctors involved in this investigation abused their positions of trust and jeopardized the lives of many individuals by participating in the conspiracy to distribute nearly a million dosage units of controlled substances onto the streets of southeast Michigan and beyond. These indictments should make it clear that the DEA and our law enforcement partners are focused on investigating and pursuing those that are illegally diverting prescription drugs into our communities.”
According to the superseding indictment, Zigmond set up office suites in several different locations in Oak Park, Michigan, where co-defendants Franklin and Godoy would see fake patients and write the prescriptions. Franklin, Godoy, Fradlis, Pitsenko, Sribna and Jacobs were paid by Zigmond.
In addition to the drug conspiracy charge, Zigmond was also charged with money laundering and Knight was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The United States will pursue forfeiture of all proceeds and property traceable to the offenses charged.