Pain Management Doctor Convicted on Drug Charges for Illegal Prescriptions
A pain management doctor from Virginia has been convicted on drug charges for illegally prescribing dangerous pain medications.
The jury deliberated for four hours before returning with a vote. Dr. Linda Sue Cheek has been found guilty on 172 of the 173 counts of drug charges for prescription drug abuse. She was accused of prescribing medication from her Dublin, VA practice without a valid DEA registration number – instead, she used a number issued to another doctor, who worked at her practice.
In 2008, the 63-year-old pain management doctor had previously been charged with Medicaid and Medicare fraud, and the Virginia Board of Medicine had suspended her license. Her license was reinstated in 2009, but the DEA “did not, and could not, reinstate her DEA Certificate of Registration.”
Cheek used the registration of Dr. Kathleen Schultz, who became a key witness in the case. With the number, Cheek wrote prescriptions for many dangerous drugs, including sleeping pills and highly-regulated opioid pain killers like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Cheek used Schultz’s registration number over 80 times to call in prescriptions – in some cases, before she even saw the patients, which is illegal for the opioid pain killer oxycodone.
Schultz has since surrendered her own registration number, but said in her testimony that she “sincerely wanted to help Linda Cheek.”
In five other cases, Cheek attempted to use her revoked registration number to write prescriptions.
Her medical license has been suspended a second time.
Prosecutors argued that Cheek was motivated to continue, despite a suspended license, by only one thing – money. At her practice, she accepted only cash or credit cards from her patients, not insurance or government assistance.
“Although Linda Cheek wasn’t getting rich, you can see that the pain management practice brought in a substantial amount of money,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennie Waering in her closing arguments.
Cheek was acquitted on one count, which was maintaining her practice, New River Medical Associates, as a drug-involved premise.
Cheek did not testify or present evidence in the case, although she has been outspoken in defending herself internet posts, or during regulatory hearings. She contends that the drug charges were an extension of the federal government’s attack on pain management physicians “based on erroneous thought – that the pill causes addiction.”
The prescription drug charges carry a very heavy sentence. Cheek faces 1,204 years in federal prison, and $64.5 million in fines. She will be sentenced in June. Until then, she remains free on bond.
Prescription Drug Abuse and Prescription Fraud Are Serious Drug Charges
In South Carolina, there are laws which govern the obtainment, possession, and distribution of prescription drugs. These laws affect the general public as well as the doctor prescribing the medication. If you have been arrested for prescription drugs, we will investigate your case from every angle, determine whether an illegal search took place and seek to have your charges reduced or even dismissed.
Common drugs targeted for prescription drug prosecution include:
- Painkillers including Hydrocodone, Lortab, Oxycodone, Percocet, and Oxycontin abuse
- Depressants such as Valium and Xanax
- Stimulants including Ritalin and Dexedrine
- Opioids including Codeine, Morphine, and Opium
- Steroids including Anadrol, Oxandrin, Durabolin, and Equipoise, as well as OTC drug abuse.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help Defend Against Prescription Drug Charges
Being arrested on prescription drug charges can be devastating financially and emotionally, and often results in personal and professional consequences. We understand what you are going through, and we are here to help. Contact the prescription drug charges attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, LLC today for a free, confidential consultation to discuss the facts of your case. We will investigate your case from every angle, determine whether an illegal search took place and seek to have your charges reduced or even dismissed. 803.252.4800.