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Chattanooga Pill Mill Operator Sentenced to 280 Years in Prison

AUG 28 (CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.) - On August 27, 2015, Barbara Lang, a.k.a. “Aunt Bea,” 61, of Rossville, Ga., was sentenced by the Honorable Curtis L. Collier, U.S. District Judge, to serve 280 years in federal prison. 

After a 25-day trial that spanned almost three months, Lang was convicted of two counts of conspiring to distribute and dispense Schedule II and IV controlled substances, outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose; five counts of maintaining a premises for the purpose of distributing controlled substances; and fourteen counts of structuring financial transactions to evade reporting requirements. 

Lang was charged along with three other individuals.  Her daughter, Faith Blake, pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally distribute drugs through Superior One medical clinic, a business she operated with her mother. Blake also pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally distribute drugs through Elite Care, another Chattanooga pain clinic that she operated.  Additionally, she pleaded guilty to obstructing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and failure to appear for a federal court proceeding.  Sentencing for Blake is set for 9:00 a.m., October 1, 2015, in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga. 

Dr. Jerome Sherard, Superior One’s medical director, pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally distribute drugs at Superior One Medical Clinic and at the Sherard Clinic, his own practice.  Sherard was sentenced to serve five years in federal prison.  Sherard was also ordered to forfeit $192,956.31 to the United States.

Charles Larmore, a nurse practitioner employed by Lang at Superior One and Primary Care, pleaded guilty to conspiring to illegally distribute drugs at both those clinics.  Larmore was sentenced to serve 13 years in federal prison.  Larmore was also fined $20,000 and ordered to forfeit $375,829.20 to the United States. 

Daniel R. Salter, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Atlanta Division stated, “The dispensing of addictive prescription pain medication under the guise of a doctor’s care is not about the good of the community or an individual’s specific health needs; it is about greed and those involved in “pill mill” activity are in fact drug dealers. The sentencing of this defendant makes the Chattanooga area a safer place today.”

 “We are very pleased with this very lengthy sentence given to this defendant, who disbursed these very addictive drugs to many people over a long period of time. Illegal opioid pain medication distribution organizations, such as this, contribute to an epidemic of addiction in the United States.  We thank the cooperative work of the federal, state and local agencies, who investigated this case and participated in this very lengthy trial.   She will never be able to participate in the illegal distribution of prescription drugs again,” said U.S. Attorney Bill Killian.

Law enforcement agencies participating in the joint investigation which led to indictment and subsequent conviction of Lang, Blake, Sherard and Larmore included: the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); IRS - Criminal Investigation; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office;  Chattanooga Police Department; Roane County Sheriff’s Department; and Rockwood Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregg L. Sullivan and Michael D. Porter represented the United States at trial.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy Stone prosecuted other individuals involved in the drug conspiracies. 

             The DEA encourages parents, along with their children, to educate themselves about the dangers of legal and illegal drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.


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