AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

Two Atlanta doctors joining colleagues in federal prison

When William Richardson and Nevorn Askari report to federal prison for their roles in a pill mill operation, the two former Atlanta-area doctors could find themselves in some familiar company.

At least a dozen other Georgia-licensed physicians have been sentenced to federal prisons since 2014 for violations involving opioids or other addictive substances.

The AJC's Becca Godwin wrote earlier this week that Richardson was sentenced to four years and six months in prison, and Askari drew a sentence of five years and six months. The two, who had worked for Atlanta Medical & Research Clinic, surrendered their medical licenses. You can read the AJC story about their crimes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/2sndkkf

A parade of Georgia doctors this year received their punishments from federal judges.

In February, Dr. Romie Earl Roland was sentenced to 10 years, 10 months in prison for his role in a Buckhead pill mill.

In March, Dr. Nisar Piracha was sentenced to seven years and three months in federal prison for violations involving his Dunwoody practice.

In April, Dr. Paul Spencer Ruble  of Thomson was sentenced to five years in prison.

In May, Dr. Robert M. Ritchea of LaGrange was sentenced to 10 years in prison, in a case involving an Alabama pain clinic.

No one appears to keep a list of all the physicians sent to federal prison on drug charges -- the Georgia Composite Medical Board may not even note convictions on its website.

But AJC records show these sentences for Georgia physicians from 2014 to 2016.

2016: Michael Johnston was sentenced to 10 years; George Allen Williams to seven years; and Bradley Lane Frost to 10 years and seven months.

2015: Sanjay Sinha was sentenced to five years; and James Earl Chapman Jr. to 10 years.

2014: Cleveland James Enmon was sentenced to 20 years; David Mark Battista to three years and 10 months; Najam Azmat to 11 years and one month; and Kenneth Gossett to three years and six months.

Did you or a family member receive treatment from a doctor convicted of violations involving prescriptions of opioids or other controlled substances? We'd like to hear from you. Email us at doctors@ajc.com. 


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About the Author

Lois Norder is Senior Editor for Investigations in the newsroom at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.