Georgia physician gets 100 month sentence for giving out pills and prescriptions for cash
Former gynecologist George “Mack” Bird III, 59, was sentenced to more than eight years in prison and fined $20,000 on Tuesday, Sept. 18, for dispensing and prescribing addictive opioids and other drugs to people who received little or no medical services from clinics in Dublin and Eastman. Bird also agreed to forfeit $2.7 million of seized assets and real estate that he admitted were traceable to proceeds of his crimes.
Bird, who pled guilty in March before Senior U. S. District Court Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. to charges of Conspiracy to Distribute Controlled Substances and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering, was indicted in 2017 on multiple felonies. The negotiated plea with a sentence of 100 months in prison does not include the possibility of parole, and Bird will be subject to 36 months of supervised release following his incarceration.
Starting in 1992, Bird owned and operated a gynecology practice in Eastman, Ga., about an hour southeast of Macon, and later opened a weight loss clinic in Dublin. He admitted the offices sold and prescribed drugs including the opiate hydrocodone, along with alprazolam (Xanax), carisoprodol (Soma), phentermine (Adipex), and phendimetrazine (Plegime) to customers who typically paid in cash and received no legitimate medical services. In the years leading to his arrest in 2015, Bird increasingly delegated his patient care responsibilities to unqualified employees who used pre-signed prescription forms and preprinted medical notes to give the appearance that Bird was performing examinations.
Bird’s criminal conduct netted him millions of dollars. Although he kept a significant portion of that money, Bird used some of his proceeds to pay his co-conspirators and purchase drugs for eventual distribution.
“Mack Bird could be the poster child for the opioid crisis in this country – a greedy, self-serving criminal who violated the law and his medical oath to enrich himself at the lifelong expense of the ‘patients’ he willingly enslaved to deadly addictions,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “The U.S. Attorney General has made it clear that battling opioid abuse is a priority, and this office will vigorously prosecute illegal drug dealers whether they are on a street corner or in a fancy office.”
Christine also commended the hard work and dedication of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad and the Oconee Drug Task Force, both of which investigated the case.
“Complicit doctors who overprescribe prescription opioids often prey on patients who are addicted to these powerful medications,” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division. “Some of these doctors operate under the guise of a stethoscope and white coat, which serves as a front for their legitimacy. This successful investigation was a direct result of hard work put forth by all law enforcement agencies involved and the subsequent prosecution by U.S. Attorney’s Office.”