An Atlanta-area gynecologist and two pharmacists are among 11 people arrested and charged for their roles in operating “pill mills.”
According to U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine and other information presented in court, Anthony Mills, M.D., was a licensed physician with a specialty listed with the Georgia Composite Medical Board of Gynecology. Mills, however, did not maintain a gynecology practice at any address listed with Medical Board or the DEA. Instead, he allegedly operated a pill mill out of his Atlanta-area home, where authorities he allegedly sold prescriptions to people addicted to prescription drugs and drug-dealers for cash.
“When medical professionals allegedly abuse their credentials to divert dangerous prescriptions pills to the streets for personal profit, the toll on our communities is devastating,” Erskine said. “The opioid crisis is far from over, and we continue our work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to pursue those who traffic in these dangerous drugs.”
Despite Mills’s specialization in gynecology, many of the “patients” to whom Mills provided prescriptions were male. A large number of the prescriptions allegedly were provided to sponsors, including defendants Thomika Riley, Brittany Tinker, Natalie Jackson, Keandre Bates, Jeana Alston, Javon Hamilton, Chafulumisa Lisbon, Marcena Jordan, and Travious Polain, in the names of third parties that Mills had never evaluated, and in many cases had never met.
Some of the prescriptions that Mills issued to sponsors were for individuals whose identities had been stolen, who were incarcerated at the time of the prescription or who were deceased at the time of the prescription. Mills also allegedly allowed Rogerick Smith and Natalie Jackson, who were not medical professionals, to sell prescriptions they wrote using Mills’ name and DEA registration number.
Authorities also say Raphael Ogunsusi operated two pharmacies — Evansmill Pharamcy and Retox Pharmacy — for the purpose of unlawfully dispensing and distributing controlled substances. Ogunsusi, as well as pharmacist Moses Kirigwi, dispensed a large number of prescriptions issued by Mills and others, that were presented by sponsors in the names of third parties. Ogunsusi and Kirigwi dispensed these prescriptions despite the fact that they were in excess of medically appropriate dosages and combinations and despite obvious signs that the pills were being abused, sold, or otherwise diverted.
Most of the controlled substance prescriptions dispensed at Evansmill Pharmacy and Retox Pharmacy were written by Mills, including prescriptions filled by sponsors in the names of individuals were not present, and in many cases, whose identities had been stolen.
Ogunsusi and Kirigwi often charged more than $900 to fill a single prescription for oxycodone and $500 to file a prescription of Percocet, well above the market value for legitimate prescriptions.
To disguise the significantly inflated prices that he charged for the illegal controlled substance prescriptions, Ogunsusi allegedly falsified the pricing information on his pharmacy computers to give the appearance that he had charged market prices for the controlled substances. Ogunsusi and Kirigwi also required sponsors to purchase additional non-controlled substances that the sponsors neither wanted or needed, which further maximized Ogunsusi’s profits for the illegal dispensing and distributing of controlled substances.
“While in the midst of this country’s prescription opioid epidemic, removing and ultimately eliminating physicians who recklessly overprescribe pharmaceutical pills (particularly prescribed opioids) for non-medical reasons, is an important part of DEA’s mission,” Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division Robert J. Murphy said. “This pill peddling gynecologist allegedly distributed large quantities of opiate-based pills to scores of drug-seeking patients. He, and his accomplices, will no longer be able to commit such unlawful acts thanks to spirited law enforcement cooperation.”
The following have been arrested and arraigned on federal drug charges for their respective roles in operating “pill mills:”
♦ Anthony Mills, 55, of Atlanta
♦ Raphael Ogunsusi, 69, of Conyers
♦ Moses Kirigwi, 29, of Brookhaven
♦ Thomika Riley, a/k/a TJ, 48, of McDonough
♦ Brittany Tinker, 28, of Lithonia
♦ Natalie Jackson, 37, of Stone Mountain
♦ Rogerick Smith, a/k/a Fasho, 43, of Douglasville
♦ Keandre Bates, 29, of Decatur
♦ Chafulumisa Lisbon, a/k/a Chafu, 31, of Atlanta
♦ Javon Hamilton, 32, of Bluffton, South Carolina
♦ Marcena Jordan, 28, of Forrest Park
Ogunsusi was also indicted individually on money laundering charges. Defendants Jeana Alston, a/k/a Tina, 41, of Atlanta, Georgia, and Travious Polain, a/k/a Magic, 30, of Decatur, Georgia, who are also charged in the indictment, remain fugitives.