4 indicted for phony pain clinic

Tyrone location was one of 3 in metro area; owner, docs face federal charges

The August raid on a pain clinic in Tyrone, along with several other locations in the metro Atlanta area, has resulted in four people being indicted on federal drug and money laundering charges, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta.

The probe of the AMARC clinic began in 2009 when the federal Drug Enforcement Administration learned that AMARC physicians “prescribed pain pills outside the bounds of legitimate medical practice,” prosecutors said.

Those charged in the case include Godfrey Ilonzo, 63, of Alpharetta; Bona Ilonzo, 51, of Alpharetta; Dr. Nevorn Askari, 57, of Monroe; and Dr. William Richardson, 59, of Atlanta. The businesses were owned by Godfrey Ilonzo and his wife, Bona, served as the office manager at the main AMARC office, while Askari and Richardson at various times served as the primary doctors for AMARC clinics, prosecutors said.

The indictment against the four co-defendants claims they “worked together to facilitate the prescribing of oxycodone pills and other controlled substances to addicts and distributors,” prosecutors said.

In the operation, Askari and Richardson issued prescriptions for controlled substances “for medically inappropriate and potentially lethal dosages and combinations ... without conducting adequate medical examinations.”

Such operations are commonly referred to as “pill mills.”

Askari is also accused of pre-signing prescriptions without seeing patients in person following the initial face-to-face appointment.

“The indictment alleges that the AMARC pain clinics constituted a drug distribution operation with very high volumes of patients, many of whom visited the clinics in groups from other counties in Georgia and surrounding states,” prosecutors said in a press release. “Many of those visiting had apparent signs of being addicts or drug dealers. The defendants allegedly made millions of dollars during the operation of the AMARC pain clinics which they used to recruit additional physicians and patients to the AMARC pain clinics, and to open additional clinics under the “AMARC” name.”

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000; prosecutors also want Askari and Richardson to forfeit their medical licenses.

SocialButterfly88
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Tax Dollars

Your tax dollars are wasted on drug addicts everyday. Not all drug addicts buy off the street or go to a Pill Mill, most are legit patients that have routine doctor's appointments. Most of them are on Medicare/Medicaid, but are legally buying their drugs with our tax dollars. Funny huh?! So see, all of our tax dollars aren't wasted on the government cleaning up the problem, most of our tax dollars legally pay for the drugs that cause the problem. Hmmm.... Maybe we shouldn't treat pain with addictive narcotics. There ARE other ways to treat "pain." Most people don't really have pain or need pain management, they make ailments up in order to get the narcotics they want. It starts with the patient, not the doctor. The doctors in this case just took advantage of the problem at hand, I mean who wouldn't? Look at how much money is in the Drug industry... Probably enough to help the deficit. I believe it is about $4 Billion, but that's just what google came up with.

NUK_1
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4billion revenues for Big Pharma? LOL

Try Google again.

Prescription drug sales alone are closer to about 800 BILLION a year. Just Lipitor itself accounts for 15bil/year.

SPQR
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bad docs

Always nice to go after the bad docs. Now if we just spent a fraction of the amount we do on enforcement to actually help/treat addicts.

SPQR
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war on the poor

it is indeed a war on the poor.It is also a government jobs program the like of which is almost unimaginable. It is beyond stupidity. It causes immeasurable harm to individuals and society. The real tragedy is that more people don't recognize it for the travesty it is and accept the government as their nanny. A dysfunctional nanny at that.

Spyglass
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War on Drugs...huge waste of monies..

All we are doing is creating armed agents inside out Country. Treat those who need it, and leave those who aren't hurting anyone alone.

Husband and Fat...
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Personal responsibility

If people can afford drugs, they can afford thier own treatment to get off drugs. It's called personal responsiblity.

NUK_1
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can't agree husband

Getting drug addicts treatment and education or pouring billions into law enforcement combating the problem and creating an enormous black market economy globally that even threatens countries?

The War on People/Drugs has been one of the most abject failures in history. Stop the madness already.

Husband and Fat...
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I see your point

I don't have a solution on this one.

Just hate to see my tax dollars being spent on those who made poor choices.

NUK_1
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Me either

I might foolishly think that it is better to spend the money we currently do on enforcement and instead use it on education and treatment, but I could indeed be wrong. My main gripe is that the government shouldn't be telling people what they can ingest into their own bodies in the first place, whether that is healthy food, fast food, alcohol, drugs(legal or not), exotic herbs, whatever.

I don't like people making poor choices any more than I like having to admit at times that I've been far from perfect myself. I just think there is a much better way of handling the drug issue than prohibition and filling up jail cells and fueling an underground economy that is now above-ground in several countries.

Husband and Fat...
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No clue

I have no clue whether education (Just say no) or the legal system (jail) is doing much to eradicate the problem. I guess it helps, but it is not the final answer since we still have kids on drugs and convicted addicts who are released from prison due to over crowding without dealing with their drug problem.

I had a neighbor (college educated) who lost his job, then spiraled downward, drugs, theft, ect... Eventually went to jail, but that ended up only making things worse for his habit and left a family with young kids distroyed.

I don't care what anyone else does in thier private life as long as they don't take a drive while drunk or something like that, which can affect others. Legalizing some recreational drugs may or may not lessen the illegal drug trade. People will always be searching for the easy money or quick high and then do stupid things.

All I know is that I go to work every day in order to raise my family in a safe community. I like the fact that PTC is relatively safe.

PTC Observer
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Husband - Drugs

If we want to solve the "drug problem", then we need to change the laws that make them illegal. This will lead to lower crime rates and deconstruct the massive "enforcement" and production machine that profits from illegal drugs.

It is in the end what you stated earlier, personal responsibility and individual freedom to choose.

With that said, it is still up to all of us to obey the law.

AtHomeGym
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PTC-O & The Law

Check out the nrs of local arrests for "less than 1 ounce of Marijuana"--is that a sensible law?

Spyglass
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It is a waste of time and resources

For sure.

Husband and Fat...
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Pain Clinics

These pain clinics have been popping up everywhere and we always read about one getting raided every few months. I know there are people that suffer pain, but I would guess that most of the patients are looking for the high they get from these meds and doctor shop looking for the easiest Dr. to prescribe.

The Feds need to close these down and instead come up with a way to better distribute to only those that truly need. Maybe make all narcotic prescriptions require two approvals for a re-fill.

I would bet that if a study was done we would find that these doctors in pain clinics see more patients in a day than a general practitioner. One would think that they would have to spend more time with each patient.

This is one area that I think we might need new policies from the medical profession.

PTC Observer
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AHG - Nothing

is sensible about the "drug war". It is a government run program....I suppose you know what I think about government run programs, don't you AHG.

The fact is, it is an industry that is supported by the state that makes war on its citizens and in particular its poor citizens. The state (read federal government) is good at making war on the poor, without them most of the government run programs wouldn't exist and their associated jobs. The objective is to keep the poor in their place and poor by "helping" them. The drug laws help the attorneys, it helps fund law enforcement, it helps the prison industry, it helps fuel break ins, pawn shops and all sorts of people by helping keep our streets safe from drugs. Feel safe?

A lot of good police are being killed....and for what? Profit. Kind of reminds me of the 1930's, it didn't work with booze and it won't work with drugs either.

Sorry, I know that's not what you asked me but that's what is going on with the "drug war".

A lot of people are making a lot of money off the "drug war". Now what's the motivation to change anything?

NUK_1
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AHG: Of course it isn't

It's damn stupid, but the law is what it is and we have to abide by it until we RISE UP(Go Falcons!) and demand a change.

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