Boca doctors arrested for running unlicensed pain clinic

BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) - Three Boca Raton doctors accused of running an illegal pain clinic went before a judge Friday.

Update, FRI 4 PM: Doctors Henry Battagliola, Kyin Ho and Mark Cukierman are accused of practicing medicine and prescribing prescription drugs without a license at Boca East Pain Management Clinic. They turned themselves in to authorities Thursday afternoon.

The investigation began when detectives looked at the clinic's records from May 2011. An attorney for one doctor spoke briefly outside the courtroom and said authorities are on a witch hunt. "I think the state has a valid purpose. Florida has a bad reputation for having these clinics. I think they're trying to pressure doctors not to work at a pain management center, and, in doing that, they're unfortunately arresting and continuing to arrest legitimate doctors," said Fred Schwartz, Dr. Cukierman's attorney.

Investigators have charged a fourth doctor in this case, Dr. Edward Prats, but he has not yet been located.

Previously: Four Boca Raton doctors are facing multiple charges following the investigation of an unlicensed pain clinic.

Dr. Henry Joseph Battagliola, Dr. Mark Cukierman and Dr. Kyun Sein Ho -- who all worked at Boca East Pain Management -- were taken into custody by authorities after turning themselves in.

Investigators continue to search for a fourth doctor, Edward Jose Mila Prats.

The investigation, called 'Operation Take as Needed', began when detectives looked at the clinic's records from May 2011.

More than 13 agencies involved in the investigation formed the Palm Beach County Multi-Agency Diversion Task Force.

Documents obtained by the task force allege the clinic practiced improper ordering and transferring of controlled substances, operated and managed a non-registered pain clinic and prescribed controlled substances on numerous occasions before, during and after their business's license was revoked in 2010.

The doctors face a range of charges, including operating a non-registered PMC, possession with intent to sell or deliver contraband prescription drugs, trafficking oxycodone, prescribing controlled substances and practicing without a license.

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