Updated: 'Pill Mill' Partner Pleads Guilty, Agrees to Cooperate, Testify
In a deal with federal prosecutors, Jesse Violante pleaded guilty to a drug trafficking conspiracy and is set to be sentenced April 11 to a maximum of 20 years in prison. Tara Atkins also pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate.
In a negotiated plea with prosecutors, Tara Atkins, 35, of Cartersville, who allegedly helped managed the clinic, also pleaded guilty in January. She agreed to cooperate with the feds, including testify, in exchange for prosecutors dismissing several charges, according to the agreement, attached.
Atkins pleaded guilty to withholding information on a crime and faces up to 3 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She is set to be sentenced on April 18.
One of the five people accused of operating a "pill mill" in Cartersville has pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with federal authorities.
In June 2011, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies raided Atlanta Medical Group, a Collins Drive pain clinic, arresting 11 residents of other states on drug possession and other charges. Federal authorities then indicted the five accused of running Atlanta Medical Group as a front for the illegal distribution of addictive pain killers.
Jesse Violante, 24, of Vero Beach, FL, who owned Atlanta Medical Group along with co-defendant Jason Votrebek, pleaded guilty in January to a drug trafficking conspiracy count in a deal with federal prosecutors, according to the court documents, attached. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 11 in Rome.
The conspiracy involved 61,908 (30 mg) and 10,564 (15 mg) pills of oxycodone, according to prosecutors.
In exchange for prosecutors recommending a lighter sentence, Violante, who faces up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine, agreed to forfeit $256,000 in cash found in a Florida home along with about $36,700 more seized from bank accounts and cooperate with the government, including testify at trial.
A jury trial originally set for January has been postponed in part due to another case involving Votrobek and Roland Rafael Castellanos, 34, who allegedly managed Atlanta Medical Group. Court documents indicate Castellanos was involved in a Jacksonville, FL, pain clinic, for which Votrobek also faces criminal charges.
"Defendants Votrobek and Castellanos owned and operated pain management clinics in Jacksonville that are similar to AMG; that they worked together and possibly met there; and that they eventually formed a partnership to start the AMG clinic in Cartersville," the motion, attached, reads. "Further, the evidence is expected to show that much of what the defendants learned about operating AMG, they learned from their experiences in Jacksonville—whether or not the pain clinics there are characterized as a 'pill mill.'"
Atlanta Medical Group's primary doctor, James Chapman, 63, of Macon, also faces trial.
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