FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The owners of a Pompano Beach pain clinic who were charged with more than a dozen counts each of racketeering, prescription drug trafficking and money laundering made their first appearance before a judge on Wednesday.
During the proceeding bond was set at $250,000 for 35-year old Frank Turturo II. Bond for his wife Bernice, 38, was set at $150,000.
Tuesday’s raid of the couple’s Pompano Beach Pain Management clinic on Powerline Road was the result of year long investigation by the Broward Sheriff’s Office’s organized crime unit.
Investigators said they found that employees would fill the prescriptions through mail order and paid one price while charging their customers double and triple the price. Two patients who received prescriptions for controlled substances from the pain clinic died from overdoses, according to BSO.
“We found a letter from the Broward County Medical Examiners Office notifying Mr. Turturo that one of his patients had died from an overdose and the ME was notifying them,” said Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti. “These people were so callous they crumpled up that letter and threw it in the trash, it didn’t faze them one bit.
Lamberti said during a search of the Turtoro’s Coral Spring home they found a false wall which concealed approximately 80 guns and $400,000 in cash and gold.
“It’s scary, it’s scary that one person could’ve accumulated this many and types of weapons,” said Lamberti.
When asked about the weapons on Tuesday, Bernice Turturo said it’s not as it appears.
“My husband’s a gun collector, they’re all registered and legal,” said Turturo.
Not so, said the sheriff.
“Two of the weapons are short-barreled assault rifles,” said Lamberti, “We have met with ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), we are meeting with U.S. Attorney’s Office to do federal firearms violations on these two weapons.”
Investigators are still trying to figure out how the Turturos got their hands on a military missile casing.
“It is the carrying case and the firing mechanism for a Stinger missile you’re not supposed to have those,” said Lamberti.
Lamberti insists the Turturo’s and their business is connected to organized crime.
“His father is a known associate of traditional organized crime in New York,” said Lamberti. “The whole operation of controlling people, controlling money, fits the definition of organized crime.”
The Turturos reportedly operated their business like an organized crime enterprise. They allegedly employed two armed guards and adorned their business walls with framed photographs of Marlon Brando as The Godfather, deceased mobster John Gotti and the Sopranos. They even used a device to detect if their telephones were being tapped, according to the sheriff’s office.
On Tuesday Bernice Turturo told CBS4’s Maggie Newland that they run a legitimate business and are not a pill mill.
“We verify everything they come in with, MRIs are verified, prescriptions are verified, physical exams, we verify it,” said Turturo.
Turturo denied her family or the business is connected to organized crime.
“Do you have a connection to organized crime,” ask Newland.
“No,” said Turturo.
“Well the police say there is a connection,” said Newland.
“Well it’s not with me,” said Turturo.