LaSalle County doctor gets 12 years for doling out opioids in exchange for sex

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A LaSalle County physician was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for giving out opioids and other drugs in exchange for sex and cash.

Constantino Perales, M.D., 67, of Peru, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois. A federal judge handed down the 12-year-sentence during a court hearing Tuesday in Chicago.

Dr. Perales admitted in a plea agreement that between 2011 and 2013 he doled out opioids and other drugs to three addicts in exchange for sex, prosecutors said. He then required the patients to continue having sex with him before giving them additional drugs.

Despite knowing the patients were addicts, Dr. Perales handed out the pills without performing examinations or ordering tests to manage their conditions, according to the plea deal.

In addition, Dr. Perales illegally prescribed oxycodone and Xanax to Andrew Strandell, a patient who sold the pills on the black market and then shared the profits with him, prosecutors said.

Strandell pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy charge as Perales, prosecutors said. He was sentence to 30 months in prison in August.

“Few cases provide such a troubling example of a brazen and pathological abuse of power, influence, and trust in order to manipulate the pain and suffering of others to one’s personal advantage,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine A. Sawyer and Kathryn E. Malizia argued in a sentencing memorandum. “The evidence in this case demonstrates that Constantino Perales is a predator who abused his power and cloaked himself in the authority conferred by his white coat to manipulate vulnerable patients for his own gratification and profit.”

Dr. Perales’ Illinois medical license was suspended and he surrendered his DEA registration certificate after authorities searched his office in Peru in 2013, prosecutors said.

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