WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The infamous George brothers, their mother and one of the Wellington twins' wives now share something more than family ties.
All are now felons.
In the course of an hour today, Chris George, his wife Dianna Pavnick George and his mother Denice Haggerty all pleaded guilty to single charges for their role in what prosecutors say was one of the biggest illegal drug networks in the nation.
Like his 30-year-old twin did last month, Chris George pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering. He faces a maximum 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Feb. 3.
His 27-year-old wife and 58-year-old mother stood side-by-side before U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra, and each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Both face possible five-year prison terms and $250,000 fines when they are sentenced next year.
At their attorneys' request, Marra delayed an actual finding of guilt. As convicted felons, Haggerty and Dianna George wouldn't be able to visit Christopher George at the Palm Beach County Jail where he has been held since last fall on a weapons charge. Dianna George wouldn't be able to bring to the jail the couple's 4-month-old daughter, who has never seen her father wearing anything other than prison blues.
Marra granted the request after being assured it was just a technicality and wouldn't have any impact on the two women's guilty pleas.
The three members of the George family were among seven scheduled to appear in federal court today to acknowledge their guilt in connection with the wide-ranging scheme that is blamed for more than 50 deaths. In addition to George family members, the following people also pleaded guilty to helping turn pain clinics to prescription drug mills:
-Dr. Roni Dreszer, 36, of Sunny Isles Beach, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. In return, prosecutors dropped two other charges against him, including one which could have landed him in prison for as long as 20 years. He faces a maximum 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Feb. 3.
-Dr. Daniel Hauser, 61, of Hollywood, who is board certified in internal and emergency medicine, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces a maximum 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine when he is sentenced Feb. 3.
-Dr. Augusto Lizarazo, 71, of Boca Raton, who practiced at one of the pain clinics in West Palm Beach, and Zachary Horsley, 25, of Royal Palm Beach, were to plead guilty later this afternoon.
Since the indictments were handed up in August, 27 of the 32 charged have pleaded guilty. In addition, Jeff George pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in state court in connection with the overdose death of one of the client of his pain clinics. Palm Beach Gardens Dr. Gerald Klein, 77, also faces a charge of first-degree murder in state court.
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