Licensing Criminals

Putting a Face on the Problem
by Carol Gentry

Complete article published at
04/21/11 © 2010 Health News Florida

It's not hard to find examples of Florida health professionals who have criminal records but maintain a clear license on the Department of Health website. Checking dentists and mental-health practitioners, Health News Florida found nine examples.  No special databases were required; the information was free and available just by searching public web sites. Here are some of them:

Mary Centrone, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Fort Lauderdale, was sentenced last September to four years of probation on a felony conviction for cocaine possession. Her psychologist license is marked “clear/active,” with no past discipline or pending complaints...

Matthew Reimer, a licensed clinical social worker from Clearwater, pleaded guilty in December to possession of cocaine and morphine. He was placed on 18 months' probation... According to the DOH web site, Reimer's license is "clear/active" with no past discipline or pending complaints.

Mark Maggert, a Lake County dentist... failed to file tax returns or pay taxes on $900,000 income from 2002 through 2005... now an inmate at the federal prison camp in Montgomery, AL, according to the Bureau of Prisons. He is scheduled for release in 2013. According to the DOH web site, Maggert has a “clear/active” license with no past discipline or pending complaints.

Julio Madrid of Pasco County, a registered mental health counselor intern, was sentenced to life in prison in 2009 on a charge of sexual battery on a child younger than 12. Madrid, 61, is an inmate at Northwest Florida Reception Center in Chipley. His DOH license is marked “Clear,” with no discipline or pending complaints, and was listed as “Active” for two years after he entered prison. Last month, when Madrid failed to renew the license, the designation was changed to “Delinquent.”

William Earl Hayes, a now-retired mental health counselor in Miami, kept a clear DOH license with no discipline and no complaints for a decade, even though the Florida Department of Law Enforcement had him listed on its Sex Offender Registry in connection with a case from November 2000... He had been a school psychologist with Miami-Dade for 27 years when he was asked to resign, he said... but kept [the licsense] because "it gives me credibility." It expired last month. His listing on the DOH website, which says he is "Retired" shows no discipline or complaints.

Boy's county psychiatrist has other issues
by Carol Marbin Miller and Diana Moskovitz

Complete article published at
04/23/11 © 2011 Miami Herald

In the two years since the death of Gabriel Myers, the boy's Broward County psychiatrist, whose prescribing practices drew the ire of state regulators and children's advocates, has found himself in ever-deeper hot water.

On July 18 of last year, Sohail Punjwani was arrested by Miami Beach police officers for driving under the influence and cocaine possession.

In August, Punjwani entered into a pretrial diversion program and will not be prosecuted for the cocaine charges if he completes the program, Miami-Dade court records show.

Punjwani has not been disciplined by the Department of Health, a spokeswoman said... "...the criminal charges have absolutely nothing to do with Dr. Punjwani's ability to practice medicine."

...Punjwani first came under scrutiny when The Miami Herald revealed he had prescribed several psychiatric drugs -- some of which were linked to an increased risk of suicide among children -- to 7-year-old Gabriel, who hanged himself with a detachable shower cord at his Margate foster home on April 16, 2009.

A report on the case by the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit, obtained by the Herald, concluded that "the medications that were prescribed for Gabriel may have contributed to his actions directly prior to and during his accidental death."

Punjwani, the team wrote, "has already been sanctioned for over-prescribing medications to patients, and, for the age-inappropriate prescription of medications to Gabriel Myers."

"The combination of the prescription of psychotropic medications to a 7-year-old boy and the lack of proper supervision and/or failure to centralize responsibility of treatment of Gabriel Myers is a significant contributor to his mental state at the time of his death."

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