Savannah Physician Sentenced to 20 years in Prison for ‘substantially contributing to opioid crisis’

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) – A Savannah physician was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Friday.

Dr. Frank H. Bynes, Jr., 69, was found guilty in October 2019 by a federal jury on 13 counts of the unlawful dispensation of controlled substances and three counts of health care fraud.

“Frank Bynes, Junior was sentenced today as one of South Georgia’s worst offenders in the opioid crisis that continues to plague our community,” said J. Thomas Clarkson, Assistant U.S. Attorney.

According to the court, Dr. Bynes was found to have contributed substantially to the opioid crisis by writing prescriptions for nearly five million doses of controlled substances during a three-year period.

“As described in court, Dr. Frank Bynes prescribed over four million pills, patches, and other controlled substances…many to those who needed to help the most.”

He worked at the MBA Community Clinic in Savannah, also known as MBA Diabetic Shoe and Supply Store. He also worked at Georgia Laboratory Diagnostic in Garden City, where he wrote prescriptions for massive quantities of narcotics.

Evidence showed Bynes was prescribing to some people who he knew had suffered an overdose. Many of these prescriptions were for the known “holy trinity” drug cocktail of opioids, alprazolam, and Soma.

The father of one of Bynes’ victims came forward in court before sentencing to speak on behalf of his son, who died four years ago next week. He said over the course of 130 days that his son saw Bynes and the ex-doctor prescribed him just over 2,000 pills.

He also engaged in unprofessional sexual conduct with female patients, using his prescribing as a tool to coerce them. He collected pictures of his female patients on his phone and e-mail accounts, including hundreds of women who he prescribed controlled substances.

While operating his illegal pill mill, Bynes said he worked for the Department of Justice and displayed false law enforcement credentials to his patients and others.

In addition, Bynes defrauded Medicaid, Medicare, and Tricare, resulting in excess of $2 million in fraudulent pharmacy claims.

Before sentencing, the presiding judge said, without question, this is a tragic case in every way also adding Bynes got cash for drugs and used a white coat to do it.

Bynes was ordered to pay back $615,145.06 in restitution.

Taking into consideration Bynes’s age and the fact that this was Bynes’ first conviction, the judge ruled he serves 20 years in federal prison.

Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said she is also recommending to the Bureau of Prisons that Bynes serve his sentence in federal facilities in either Estill or Jesup to be closer to family.