LAKE WORTH, Fla. - A former Lake Worth pain clinic doctor was sentenced Friday to five years of probation — including 90 days in Palm Beach County Jail to start Monday — for writing a prescription for a patient he never treated.
Lloyd E. Reich, 64, pleaded guilty Sept. 27 to one count of unlawful prescription of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. He was arrested in July 2011 in connection with his work at the now-defunct World Health Association pain clinic in Lake Worth.
But Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Stephen Rapp said even the 18-month prison term recommended by state prosecutors was too much because of Reich's poor medical condition. The judge heard testimony that Reich suffers from Parkinson's disease and Asperger syndrome, and takes 17 different medications.
Rapp also forbid Reich from seeking another medical license — he surrendered it in 2011 to avoid sanctions from the Florida Board of Medicine. And Reich must write a letter of apology to Kathleen Kiefer, whose 23-year-old son, Thomas J. Kiefer, Jr., died in March 2010 from an overdose after getting oxycodone pills from the clinic for a bad back.
"Big whoop," Kathleen Kiefer said after watching Reich's sentencing. "He's gotten away with virtually nothing."
Reich, his hands trembling as he spoke to the judge, said he was sorry Kiefer died, and "I didn't even realize" that he had filled out prescriptions for patients he didn't treat.
Assistant State Attorney Phil Wiseberg said Reich was smart enough to know better and "at the end of the day he still needs to be punished for his actions."
Defense attorney Michelle Suskauer argued Reich would die in prison. She said her disgraced client was manipulated by the clinic's former owner, Gloria Beshara, and her pharmacist husband, Louis Beshara.
Reich was targeted by the medical board after state inspectors found at least 10 suspicious prescriptions for narcotics he signed but that were issued while he was on vacation, according to a complaint.