Pill mill boss pleads guilty to second-degree murder

In exchange for cooperation

Pain clinic boss Jeff George pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the 2009 death of a patient as part of a plea deal with local prosecutors in exchange for his cooperation with state and federal authorities.

In exchange for his cooperation, prosecutors said this morning, George will face no more than 20 years in prison in the death of 24-year-old Joseph "Joey" Bartolucci, who was found with half-filled prescriptions for Xanax and Dilaudid prescribed by a doctor at George's East Coast Pain Clinic.

A federal indictment unsealed Tuesday charged Jeff George, his brother Chris George and 30 others with running a criminal enterprise funded not only by prescription drug dealing, but also by boiler-room telemarketing operations and an Internet steroids business.

George's attorney, David Roth, told Judge Joseph Marx this morning that Roth and George have been working with state prosecutors for more than a month in the case. The deal, Assistant State Attorney Barbara Burns said this morning, is contingent on George's cooperation in both the state and federal investigations.

Speaking in court Monday, George addressed members of Bartolucci's family and apologized for his role in the death.

"I'll live with this for the rest of my life," he said.

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