A former Macon heart surgeon is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 13 after being convicted in federal court on 49 counts of drug trafficking related to a Cartersville “pill mill” pain clinic.
James Earl Chapman Jr., 64, will remain on bond until the sentencing hearing, set to be held in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
His two-week-long trial ended Friday, according to a news release issued by the United States Department of Justice.
Chapman’s lawyer, Franklin J. Hogue, said the doctor “had a long and distinguished career as a heart surgeon.”
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The case previously went to trial earlier this year, but jurors became “deadlocked” in their deliberations, according to court records.
Hogue said he and Chapman were “optimistic” after the first trial, but now are turning their attention toward his sentencing.
According to the Justice Department:
An investigation was launched in 2010 after allegations surfaced that Atlanta Medical Group was illegally prescribing pain pills. The probe revealed that Chapman was the clinic’s primary doctor.
In the first year the clinic was open, Chapman received the highest number of oxycodone pills of any doctor in the state. He didn’t conduct physical examinations and verify medical histories before prescribing “astronomical quantities” of controlled substances.
Chapman continued to prescribe “dangerous amounts and combinations” of drugs after he received notice that many pharmacies were refusing to fill the prescriptions and the medical board had subpoenaed his records.
Patient records showed Chapman knew that some of his patients were “drug addicts” or had previously bought drugs illegally.
Evidence showed Chapman was also a drug user who asked employees to help him illegally get medicine for his own use.
More than 98 percent of the patients at the clinic traveled to surrounding states to get prescriptions for controlled substances.
Jason Cole Votrobek, 31, of Vero Beach, Florida, and Roland Rafael Castellanos, 34, of Hollywood, Florida -- financiers and operators of the clinic -- were convicted in the case in 2014 and were each sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, according to the release.
Another financier and operator, 35-year-old Jesse Violante of Vero Beach, Florida, and the clinic’s office manager, 36-year-old Tara Atkins of Cartersville also have entered guilty to charges in the case. Violante was sentenced to four years and four months in federal prison. Atkins was sentenced to two years in prison, according to the release.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398 or find her on Twitter@awomackmacon.