Local suspended dentist Dr. John Craig and his wife, Margaret L. Craig, both entered guilty pleas as charged last week in Third Circuit Court to numerous felony charges.

Dr. John Craig, 43, pleaded guilty as charged to 16 felony counts filed in the Third Circuit by Assistant State Attorney Michael San Filippo. Dr. Craig was arrested June 1 in Lake City at his home on 209 counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, prescribing a controlled substance with no medical necessity, practicing medicine without a license and practicing pharmacy without a license. Dr. Craig was released from the Suwannee County Jail on $50,000 bond at that time. San Filippo said the charges were reduced to 16 - eight for prescribing a controlled substance in excess of or without medical necessity; six counts of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud or forgery, one of practicing medicine without a license and one count of practicing pharmacy without a license but incorporated the original charges. Counts 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 all charge that Dr. Craig wrote prescriptions that were not medically necessary to treat five different people (other than himself and his wife) named in the charges, none of which have been charged.

Dr. Craig was suspended from practicing dentistry prior to his arrest. The suspension remains in effect at this time.

Margaret L. Craig, 39, pleaded guilty as charged to three counts of withholding information from a practitioner (doctor shopping). She surrendered to authorities at the Suwannee County Jail where she posted $6,000 bond and was released. Investigators had filed six charges of withholding information from a practitioner against her at the time of her arrest.

San Filippo said the plea agreement came as a result of negotiations with the couple. San Filippo said the plea agreement calls for Dr. Craig to get 10 years probation, 90 days in jail, $18,000 in costs plus other fines and costs and be restricted to not practicing without a license. The agreement also calls for him to serve 300 hours of community service.

The plea agreement for Margaret L. Craig calls for her to serve five years of probation, pay $3,000 in fines and serve 150 hours of community service. Whether or not either will be adjudicated is not addressed in the plea agreement, San Filippo said.

If Dr. Craig is adjudicated guilty, he would have a permanent criminal record and could not practice dentistry.

San Filippo said neither Dr. Craig nor his wife have criminal histories.

Third Circuit Judge David Fina ordered a pre-sentence investigation of the couple prior to sentencing, which is scheduled for Oct. 2. Judge Fina is not bound by the terms of the plea agreement and can either go with the suggested terms or not.

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