Crime

Opioid-dealing doctor with connections to Haiti, Mexico and Miami-Dade now a fugitive

Why it’s so hard to break an opioid addiction

More than a half-million people died from opioids between 2000 and 2015. Today, opioid deaths are considered an epidemic. To understand the struggle of a drug addiction, we take a closer look at what happens to the body.
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More than a half-million people died from opioids between 2000 and 2015. Today, opioid deaths are considered an epidemic. To understand the struggle of a drug addiction, we take a closer look at what happens to the body.

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE: A review of Jeanne Germeil’s bond papers says, if Germeil remains a fugitive, three individuals will be on the hook for $250,000 -- husband Jean Rene Foureau, daughter Naela Foureau and family friend Jan-Yves Woel.

Before her scheduled sentencing in federal court for distributing a controlled substance, North Miami Beach doctor Jeanne Germeil declared in an email to the Miami Herald, “I will not obey an unjust and racist system!”

And, April 19, Germeil backed up that declaration — she didn’t show up for her sentencing.

That triggered an order from Judge Ursula Ungaro that read, “The defendant is hereby transferred to the Clerk’s suspended/fugitive file until such time as the fugitive(s) are apprehended.”

One of Germeil’s federal public defenders, Daniel Ecarius, would only say via email Tuesday that she had not appeared since Ungaro declared her a fugitive.

Germeil, 55, has been out of jail since posting $250,000 bond six days after her Sept. 21, 2018, indictment on 16 counts of distributing a controlled substance. She had to give up her passport and could travel without special permission only to the U.S. District Court’s Southern and Middle Districts of Florida.

But, as one of the nation’s identity theft capitals, South Florida’s also a place where faux identification can be bought as readily as anywhere. Germeil wouldn’t be the first federal bond jumper to get out of the country.

Most fugitives wind up in areas familiar to them. Germeil was born in Haiti, and attended medical school in Mexico. Her registered address with the Florida Department of Health is in Aventura and Germeil Medical, the clinic where she prescribed the opioids, was in North Miami Beach.

Court documents say the home she had to be in from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily under terms of her bond was in Naples.

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Bob Bromage says Beaufort County, S.C. saw about 20 opioid drug overdoses in January and February 2019. "It's a public safety issue, it's a public health issue," he said.

According to the Florida Department of Health, Germeil had been in practice since 1995 and licensed in Florida since 2007. The Department of Health dropped an emergency suspension order on her license last week because of the federal court conviction.

In 2017, she paid a total of $12,895 and had to complete a medical records course after a case that was a microcosm of her federal case, prescribing opioids with inadequate examination.

Jurors found Germeil guilty on 11 counts in February after prosecutors presented evidence she, among other actions, prescribed opioid pain medications at a rate of 687.95 prescriptions a month, a rate too high for actual diagnosis.

Her April 10 email to the Miami Herald declared her prosecution and conviction a product of misogyny, racism and a jury trial rigged against her defense team.

It ended with: “I am through playing it fair while the opposing party had been cheating left and right without consequences. I know they will label me and harass my daughter as they are already doing. However that justice system is rigged against people like me. Colored, Haitian, successful female physician. Enough is enough! They will get my corpse. I will not obey an unjust and racist system!”

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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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