Joseph Wagner, who operated the Wagner Chiropractic & Acupuncture Clinic, was under investigation for insurance fraud and also for illegally prescribing powerful, addictive drugs to his patients.
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401 W Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801, USA
As a chiropractor, Wagner is not allowed to prescribe controlled substances such as painkillers, but records show he repeatedly prescribed the drugs using another doctor's name.
In recent months, Wagner got divorced, lost most of his assets, including his medical office building, and relinquished his medical license after the Department of Health filed an administrative complaint against him.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Irick told U.S. Magistrate Judge Karla R. Spaulding during a detention hearing Wednesday that Wagner bought a one-way ticket to travel to the Dominican Republic on May 16.
Wagner, 62, had about $3.2 million in a bank account there, equivalent to about $82,000 in the United States.
When agents seized and searched his luggage, they found his medical diploma, which came from a school in the Dominican Republic, medical equipment, documents related to real estate, a woman's wedding ring that he recently purchased, and documents on how to get married in that country.
"This is someone who was going to start a new life," Irick said, arguing Wagner remains jailed while he awaits trial.
But defense attorney John E. Bergendahl said Wagner has strong ties to the Daytona Beach area and is no flight risk.
While he did book a one-way ticket to the Dominican Republic, he planned to return after staying for about one month, Bergendahl said.
Wagner has several adult children, two of whom pleaded with Spaulding to allow their dad to be released. One of Wagner's children is a member of the Volusia County Council.
Ultimately, Spaulding agreed with the government.
She noted Wagner's personal and financial problems in Florida, and that his present ties are in the Dominican Republic — his money and a relationship with a woman there.
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