Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

João Franco, Jessica Martinis, Francis Martinis, and Hannah Ferrie.
Courtesy of Francis Martinis/Instagram

Former Below Deck Mediterranean guests have been arrested in a prescription drug scheme, which involved allegedly stealing the identities of several cast members from the hit Bravo series.

Dr. Francis Martinis and his wife, Jessica Martinis, were charged on Thursday, December 14, on four counts of criminal sale of prescription for a controlled substance by a practitioner and four counts of falsifying business records, according to NBC New York.

An investigation began earlier this year when Jessica went to a pharmacy in Kings Park, New York, in an attempt to fill a fake oxycodone prescription. The handwritten prescription prompted a pharmacist to call the police, which later revealed that Francis had sent dozens of prescriptions for oxycodone to Suffolk County pharmacies over a two-year period.

According to the authorities, Jessica would pick up the prescriptions and pay in cash as part of the scheme. Several of the prescriptions, which were allegedly fake, were written under the names of two Below Deck cast members.

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“Doctors are supposed to be trusted members of the community and with that trust comes a tremendous amount of personal and professional responsibility,” Suffolk County district attorney Raymond Tierney said in a statement to NBC. “Physicians are held to a high standard, as they take an oath to uphold a number of professional ethical standards when they begin their careers. The conduct Dr. Martinis allegedly engaged in with his wife not only violated this oath, but it also violated the law.”

Cast Reunion in 2019.
Courtesy of Francis Martinis/Instagram

Francis and Jessica were arrested in May and charged with eight counts of criminal sale of controlled substances and falsifying business records.

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Former New York Homeland Security Director Michael Balboni addressed the allegations on Thursday, telling NBC, “[Francis] abused the celebrity position that he had on that ship to take the identities of his crew members — if that is proven — and then use that to buy drugs, that is a common scheme for a common criminal. Prosecutors will want to send a message to all other physicians — you have special access to these drugs, you know how they work and if you do this you will be prosecuted.”

Before their legal issues, Francis and Jessica appeared on season 4 of Below Deck Mediterranean, which aired in 2019. Francis returned to the franchise as a guest on Below Deck Sailing Yacht one year later, and his social media feeds feature many photos of himself with cast members over the years.

Related: Former ‘Below Deck’ Stars: Where Are They Now?

All aboard! Below Deck and its spinoff series have never failed to bring the drama to Bravo fans everywhere since the franchise launched. The original series premiered in July 2013, documenting the daily lives of crew members on luxurious yachts during charter season. At the time, Bravo revealed that the first season averaged over 1 […]

Francis and Jessica’s attorney, Peter Crusco, said the couple pleaded not guilty and that the “evidence will show the charges are bogus and cannot be substantiated.”

In a bail letter reviewed by People, prosecutors claimed that at the time of her arrest, Jessica told the police, “We didn’t sell any prescriptions, it was all for us. There was no diversion.”

Francis and Jessica are scheduled to appear in court on January 25, 2024. They have been placed on supervised release by a judge.

Us Weekly has reached out to Bravo for comment.

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