June 11, 2018
Contact: SA Debbie Webber
Phone Number: (504) 840-1100
Another Doctor pleads guilty in the Montgomery “Pill Mill” case
(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) - On Monday, June 11, 2018, a physician, Dr. Willie J. Chester, 65, of Pike Road, Alabama, pleaded guilty in the ongoing “pill mill prosecution” arising out of a now-closed Montgomery medical office, announced Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Assistant Special Agent in Charge Bret Hamilton and 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 admitted 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, Alabama Sheriff’s Office, the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, the Montgomery, Alabama Police Department, the Opelika, Alabama Police Department, and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency all assisted in the investigation.
Parents and children are encouraged to educate themselves about the dangers of drugs by visiting DEA’s interactive websites at www.JustThinkTwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.