Feds: Georgia doctor in ‘pill mill’ probe had photos of investigator’s grandchildren

Dr. Thomas H. Sachy
Dr. Thomas H. Sachy

Dr. Thomas H. Sachy did not get out of jail Thursday, and it came as no surprise.

The Jones County physician was arrested last month amid a federal probe into allegedly illegal opioid prescriptions and Medicare fraud.

At a hearing in early July, testimony emerged that Sachy — who for some time was aware that his practice had come under police scrutiny — had collected photographs, names and addresses of two investigators and their wives. Prosecutors said Sachy stored the materials in a computer file labeled, “Thugs.”

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Charles H. Weigle said at the July hearing that the contents of the file were disturbing.

“If my picture were on here, I would be scared to death,” Weigle had said before ordering Sachy to remain behind bars. However, the judge granted the doctor’s attorneys a chance to return to court and present an argument why Sachy might deserve to get out of jail until he is tried.

That chance came Thursday morning at the federal courthouse here. But the chance was slim considering what authorities say they found in his computer files as well as word that five handguns had been seized when officials raided Sachy’s office.

Handcuffed and unshaven, Sachy, 54, was escorted into court wearing a jumpsuit from the Butts County jail where he has been held since his arrest in late June. His salt-and-pepper hair has been trimmed short. He looked like he hasn’t slept much.

According to a federal indictment, Sachy is accused of crimes linked to his clinic, Georgia Pain and Behavioral Medicine, including: money laundering, conspiracy to distribute drugs “for no legitimate medical purpose,” and unlawfully dispensing drugs that lead to death or serious injury.

One person he allegedly prescribed oxycodone and fentanyl to died last year after taking the drugs. Sachy faces up to life in prison if convicted and a maximum fine of $2.5 million.

At Thursday’s proceeding, one of his lawyers, Laura Hogue, tried to mitigate some of the revelations that troubled the judge about Sachy. Hogue argued Sachy wasn’t a flight risk nor was he a danger. Hogue said the photos and information Sachy collected about the cops investigating him were easily found on Facebook and via simple internet searches.

One of the guns, Hogue said, wasn’t even loaded and the presence of the four others was understandable because in the past unruly patients have made Sachy and his staff concerned about their own safety.

Assistant U.S. Attorney C. Shanelle Booker countered with five pictures of young children found in Sachy’s computer files.

Booker showed the pictures, which had apparently been downloaded from social media, to an investigator who was on the witness stand. The investigator, a state officer who works with a DEA task force on medical fraud and opioid malfeasance, said the kids were related to another agent working the Sachy case. The kids, the officer testified, were the agent’s grandchildren.

“This was intentional,” Booker later argued to the judge, adding that Sachy should remain in custody.

“He had five pages ... of children,” Booker went on, “who had absolutely nothing to do with the investigation of this case. ... Let’s be serious, your honor. There is no room for error in this case. ... Dr. Sachy is a danger.”

The judge ordered Sachy back to jail to wait for trial, which, because of the complexity of the case, could be more than 18 months away.