Chris and Jeff George: Where Are the Drug Kingpins Now?

‘American Pain’ chronicles the meteoric rise and fall of the Florida drug kingpin twins — Chris and Jeff George — using FBI wiretap recordings and undercover videos. Emmy Award-winning director Darren Foster directed the documentary that features the brothers’ exclusive jailhouse interviews to detail the efficient and ruthless way in which they ran their pain pill empire and raked in millions while fueling the worst drug epidemic in the nation’s history.

Who Are Chris and Jeff George?

Christopher “Chris” Paul George and Jeffrey “Jeff” Frank George were born to John Paul George and his former wife Denice Haggerty in Wellington in Palm Beach County, Florida, on November 11, 1980. Their parents divorced when the twins were around eight, and Denice married firefighter Michael Haggerty. Both John Paul George and Michael Haggerty appeared on the show as they reminisced about how the twins had frequent conflicts with law enforcement over illegal possession of alcohol, brawls, contraventions, obstruction of justice, and theft.

Jeff and Chris George

Michael recounted how the twins were teenagers when they started a bushfire once that resulted in a mini forest fire, and firefighters had spent three days to have it under control. They escaped prison this time by having to do hours of community service, but Chris was arrested for allegedly dealing with anabolic steroids in 2003. He was sentenced to eight months in prison, six of which he served on work furlough, where he worked in his father’s construction business — Majestic Homes.

Even after being released, Chris continued running Florida’s West Coast office until John had to shut it down as a cost-cutting measure due to construction delays. Though the twins were not “good students,” John stated they always had an entrepreneurial mindset. True to that mantle, Jeff opened the South Beach Rejuvenation Clinic — an institution for illegally selling anabolic steroids — in 2008, with him as the registered owner. Clients were given bodybuilding products after telemedical consultations through telephone or e-mail.

After his father’s office shut down, Chris returned to his native Palm Beach County and joined his brother’s online steroids-selling business. As the company flourished, Jeff had his eyes set on higher targets. He was egged on by William Overstreet, a physician he was acquainted with while moving through the black market. William was well-versed in the nuances of Florida’s health care regulations and told Jeff to shift to selling oxycodone if he wanted to mint “real money.”

According to court indictments, William had good authority on illegal pill distribution and earned the moniker “Candy Man” because of his generosity in dispensing pain pills. Jeff collaborated with him to open South Florida Pain Center in early 2008 in a small shopping plaza north of Fort Lauderdale in early 2008, with his twin brother soon joining the business. They posted Craigslist ads to find licensed physicians, promising generous pay in exchange for a willingness to extensively prescribe a drug cocktail of oxycodone and the anti-anxiety drug Xanax.

Jeff and Chris George

According to court indictments, the George brothers had a super-efficient business model comprising an entire ecosystem. The pain clinic customers were directed first to a mobile MRI unit parked behind a West Palm Beach strip club. They were also required to submit urine samples to demonstrate that they weren’t abusers. However, lab technicians looked the other way when patients swapped clean urine or even showed the presence of narcotics in the urinalysis.

The show featured former DEA undercover investigators testifying how pain clinic doctors devoted an average of three minutes to each patient, ignoring the results of the MRIs, failing to inquire about the patient’s medical history, and neglecting to ask the questions necessary to make an objective diagnosis. The patients ushered in so many customers that the brothers supplied the physicians with stamps to “sign” prescriptions to save their hands from cramping. After receiving their scripts, the customers were guided to pharmacies controlled by the twins.

Chris Was Released While Jeff is Still Imprisoned

According to court records, Chris’ wife, Dianna Pavnick George, a former stripper, volunteered to help dispense the drugs. She did not have the pharmaceutical training to take the specific safety measures required to handle the dangers of mixing a deadly dose of medication. However, the efficiency with which the twins ran their business soon posed a new problem — they needed to expand rapidly to meet the needs. Jeff opened East Coast Pain in West Palm Beach and Hallandale Pain in the South Broward County city of Hallandale Beach.

Chris George

Chris opened a clinic called American Pain in Boca Raton in 2008 summer. But the voracious demand of pill addicts led to the launch of the new American Pain in a 20,000-square-foot building in Lake Worth. It was situated in a primarily immigrant neighborhood, with George explaining on a recorded phone call on the show how “immigrants don’t call cops.” With it being the single largest clinic in the county, investigators claimed the five most generous script-writing doctors saw 500 patients per day, earning nearly $2 million in a year.

Drug dealers and patients from different statutes, like Kentucky and Tennessee, queued for prescriptions, with security workers cruising the clinic grounds in golf carts. They steered customers to the clinic door and prevented loiterers. Court records stated the clinics administered millions of oxy doses over the counter and diverted thousands more to street traffickers paying in cash. Eventually, the twins trafficked more than $500 million in pain pills, fueling the worst drug epidemic in American history.

Retired FBI agent Kurt McKenzie noted, “The George brothers did not start the opioid crisis. But they sure as hell poured gasoline on the fire.” The George brothers and their families were targeted in federal and state probes for overprescribing the pills and several overdose deaths. Law enforcement investigated their biological parents and Chris’ wife, Dianna. While John was never charged, Denice was arrested after officers found she hid millions in drug cash in her attic. Both women were sentenced to 2½ years in federal prison for wire fraud.

In their January 2011 hearing, the George brothers pleaded guilty to racketeering charges. Jeff said, “I realize what I did was 100 percent wrong. I take 100 percent responsibility.” Jeff pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge and was sentenced to 15 and a half years. He also was convicted of second-degree felony murder in the fatal overdose of a patient named Joey Bartolucci, who died by overdosing on oxycodone he received at the East Coast Pain clinic. He received an additional 20-year sentence for the murder charge.

Jeff George

According to court records, the 42-year-old is serving his sentence at Federal Correctional Institution in Coleman, Florida. He will not be eligible for parole before January 2030. Chris also pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge and was initially sentenced to 17 ½ years in prison. However, a judge reduced it to 14 years after he agreed to testify against two doctors who worked at the clinics and were accused of contributing to the deaths of eight patients. The 42-year-old was released from federal prison in February 2022.

Read More: Dianna Pavnick: Where is Chris George’s Ex-Girlfriend Now?