Haiti

Pill-pushing Haitian physician, husband face new charges after foiled escape to Haiti

South Florida physician Jeanne Germeil didn’t plan on being convicted in federal court on multiple drug-dispensing charges. But Germeil apparently had a plan for not doing prison time after her February conviction.

Out on bond before her April 19 sentencing, Germeil sold her car and made large withdrawals from her bank account, as did her husband, Jean-Rene Foureau, a former officer of the now defunct Haitian Refugee Center. Germeil got a Florida driver’s license in another name. She imported a Haitian passport in that name. And before fleeing her Naples home on March 30, she cut off her electronic monitoring bracelet.

The only personal items she left behind: several medical diplomas.

That’s from law enforcement sources and the criminal complaint against Foureau on charges of aiding and abetting his wife. On July 18, the couple was arrested outside of a hotel in a southern Haiti town after U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents, assisted by Haiti National Police, apprehended them. According to Haitian police, Germeil was going under the name Lacretia Roquel Pratt.

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Germeil, who was already facing a maximum of 20 years in prison on each of the counts she was convicted on, now faces two additional charges, failure to appear and contempt of court.

In February, federal jurors found Germeil, who attended medical school in Mexico, guilty of writing 13,759 prescriptions to patients for hydromorphone, oxycodone and oxycodone-acetaminophen during a span of nearly 20 months between 2016 and 2017. She ran Germeil Medical, a family practice and pain management clinic in North Miami Beach.

At the time of her flight to Haiti, where she was born, Germeil had been out of jail on a $250,000 bond. As part of her bond agreement, she had to give up her passport, could travel only to the U.S. District Court’s Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, unless she got special permission, and had to be in her Naples home from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.

But on March 30, Germeil had other plans, according to the criminal complaint. At some time during that day, she cut off her electronic monitoring bracelet and fled her Naples home.

Her escape wasn’t discovered until the next day when Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputies conducted a welfare check.

“CCSO Deputies found the front door of the residence wide open,” the criminal complaint said. “The inside of the residence was in disarray, and all personal items from the residence had been removed with the exception of several medical diplomas belonging to Germeil.”

Law enforcement sources say her bracelet didn’t have a GPS feature that would immediately trigger an alert when removed if she was outside her home.

According to the complaint, the day that Germeil cut off her bracelet Foureau rented a 2019 Silver Ford Focus in Naples. Around that same time, the couple began withdrawing large sums of cash from their various bank accounts. Days later on April 10, Foureau received a $900 money transfer in Mexico City. Two days later, he departed Mexico City to Port-au-Prince via Panama City on a one-way ticket aboard Copa Airlines.

“l believe that it is likely both Germeil and FOUREAU traveled into Mexico via land route sometime after March 31, 2019, with Germeil traveling under the alias of “L.R.P.,” DEA Special Agent Gene Grafenstein said in the complaint.

On June 28, the U.S. consulate in Montreal received a tip from Haitian nationals that Germeil and Foureau had been hiding out in the basement of an apartment in the hills of Port-au-Prince for the previous two months. When Haiti National Police arrived at the location, however, the couple was long gone. Several weeks later, on July 18, they were arrested outside of a hotel in Pointe Sable, Port Salut, Haiti.

Items recovered by Haitian police at the time of the arrests included a hotel receipt in Foureau’s name, dated July 3, 2019, for $800 for a month’s stay for two individuals. Also recovered were two Florida driver licenses, one for Foureau and the other with Germeil’s alias. While the license bore her picture, the picture was altered.

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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.
Jacqueline Charles has reported on Haiti and the English-speaking Caribbean for the Miami Herald for over a decade. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for her coverage of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, she was awarded a 2018 Maria Moors Cabot Prize — the most prestigious award for coverage of the Americas.
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