WEST PALM BEACH — One doctor said he was mentally ill and another said he was a drug addict. Three others said they were stupid or greedy or both.
In the end, all five who federal prosecutors said were part of a wide-ranging anabolic steroid ring learned Monday they will be going to prison for using their medical licenses to break the law. The physicians were sentenced just days after another doctor and a pharmacist were acquitted by a jury of dozens of charges for their role in the same operation.
In a day of dealing with highly educated men, some of whom graduated from top universities and were once respected members of the community, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra reflected on the incongruity of their behavior.
“It’s always mind-boggling and astounding that people with such intelligence and backgrounds for some reason end up taking the wrong fork in the road,” Marra said. “It’s always sad because their lives are destroyed.”
All five doctors, who worked at anti-aging clinics in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, have lost their licenses to practice medicine. During some of the five hearings, weeping family members talked about how their lives have been financially devastated since the doctors were indicted in August 2011.
“I don’t know how we’re going to survive without him,” a tearful Diana Beaver testified just before Marra sentenced her husband, Dr. Craig Beaver, a chiropractor.
Beaver, 49, of Lake Worth received an 18-month sentence to be followed by six months of house arrest — the longest of the five. That’s because unlike three of the others, he also dabbled in oxycodone.
Beaver said he began using oxycodone to dull back pain.He said he became addicted to the pain killers.
While Marra sympathized, he said it didn’t explain why Beaver also distributed anabolic steroids and human growth hormone at his clinic, Infinity Medical & Rehab in West Palm Beach.
Earlier in the day, Marra had heard from family members of Dr. Steven Pearlstein, who claimed Beaver took advantage of the former orthopedic surgeon’s mental illness. Beaver convinced Pearlstein, who graduated from Princeton University and New York University medical school, to sign blank prescriptions that the chiropractor filled out and handed to patients, prosecutors said.
Marra said he also sympathized with Pearlstein’s mental demons. But, he said, Pearlstein, 59, of Coral Springs, allowed his prescription pad to be used for oxycodone with no medical justification. Marra sentenced him to 12 months and one day in prison after hearing from more than a half-dozen family members. They described how Pearlstein’s bipolar disease had skewed his perception of reality.
Dr. Alan Lefkin, 56, of Parkland also admitted to signing blank prescriptions for Beaver to use to distribute anabolic steroids and human growth hormone. He was sentenced to three months in prison to be followed by three months of home detention.
Dr. Jeffrey Perelman, 56, of Boca Raton, was sentenced to six months followed by four months of house arrest for his work at two Palm Beach Gardens anti-aging clinics — Total Health & Rehabilitation Center and Palm Beach Life Extension. Perelman admitted he hauled in nearly $1 million — far more than the other doctors, prosecutors said. He forfeited $200,000 and some property interests.
Dr. Pedro Carrillo, 55, of Palm Springs, Calif., wrote prescriptions without seeking patients for Infinity Longevity Inc., which operated in West Palm Beach before moving to Boca Raton and then Delray Beach. He was sentenced to four months in prison and four months of house arrest.