Another Doctor Pleads Guilty in Montgomery “Pill Mill” Prosecution
On Monday, June 11, a physician, Dr. Willie J. Chester, 65, of Pike Road, pleaded guilty in the ongoing “pill mill prosecution” arising out of a now-closed Montgomery medical office, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr. That medical practice was known as “Family Practice” and was located at 4143 Atlanta Highway in Montgomery.
According to court documents, Dr. Chester pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting the fraudulent acquisition of controlled substances. During the plea hearing, Dr. Chester admitting to writing a prescription for clonazepam (commonly known as the brand name drug, Klonopin) despite knowing that the patient receiving the prescription had no legitimate medical need for the drug.
A date for his sentencing hearing has not yet been set. At sentencing, Dr. Chester will face a maximum sentence of four years in prison, as well as substantial monetary penalties. Dr. Chester is the ninth defendant to plead guilty in a case arising from the operation of this “pill mill.” In November of last year, the practice’s owner, Dr. Gilberto Sanchez, pleaded guilty to drug distribution, health care fraud, and money laundering charges. Since that time, three other physicians (including Dr. Chester) have pleaded guilty to drug distribution charges; two certified registered nurse practitioners have pleaded guilty to drug distribution charges; and three other employees have pleaded guilty to health care fraud and money laundering offenses.
This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Tactical Diversion Squad, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, and the Department of Health and Human Services – Office of Inspector General. The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, the Montgomery Police Department, the Opelika Police Department, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency all assisted in the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan S. Ross is prosecuting the case.