Life Sentence Handed Down To Florida Doctor Who Made Deadly Counterfeit Pills With Fentanyl

Learn more about counterfeit drug incidents in Florida by clicking here.

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Dr. Johnny C. Benjamin, Jr. received a life sentence following his conviction by a jury in April. The jury found Benjamin guilty on five counts including participating in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute furanyl fentanyl which resulted in death. An extensive investigation showed that the cause of Maggie Crowley’s September 2016 overdose death was one of the pills that Benjamin made.

The TCPalm quoted Assistant U.S. Attorney John McMillian, one of the two prosecutors in this case: “There could be no more serious offense than to kill another person. He as a doctor should have known better.” Many of Crowley’s family members flew into town to give statements at the sentencing. Shaun Crowley, her widower, said, “She was a loving, caring, genuinely nice person. Our lives were just beginning.” Further, into his statement, he referred to Benjamin as “an absolute monster.”

Margaret Divita, Maggie’s mother, said, “Now that Maggie is gone, there is a bottomless, empty hole in my soul.” Maggie’s father, Joseph, said that the family still cries over her loss every day. Caroline Sbarbaro, Maggie’s sister, told the judge how she chose to share a bedroom with her sister growing up and that, “Every holiday, every birthday, every occasion that’s supposed to be joyous is drenched in sadness.” Benjamin’s lawyer indicated he plans to appeal the conviction.

This successful prosecution was the result of investigative efforts of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations – Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, and the Orlando Melbourne Airport Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John McMillian and Rolando Garcia prosecuted this case.

The Partnership for Safe Medicines was fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with Maggie’s family. You can read more of their thoughts here.