Defendants in pill mill case enter pleas
by Jessica Loeding
Mar 07, 2013 | 4054 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two people charged in connection with a pill mill bust in 2011 at 16 Collins Drive in Cartersville have entered pleas, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Atlanta Medical Group allegedly prescribed a high rate of the prescription painkiller Oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance, to a large number of patients treated too hastily for proper medical examination. The indictment, handed down June 29, 2011, detailed that pills were dispensed on-site at the Cartersville clinic in exchange for cash at substantially marked-up prices to patients often visibly suffering from addiction as well as those purchasing for the purpose of re-selling the drug.

James Chapman, a licensed physician from Macon, allegedly acted as the presiding doctor actively filling the prescriptions while Jason Votrobek, of Vero Beach, Fla., was outlined in the indictment as principle owner of the Atlanta Medical Group. Jesse Violante, also of Vero Beach, was listed as a co-owner and operator, while Roland Castellanos, of Cartersville, was named facility director. Office Manager Tara Atkins, also of Cartersville, was allegedly involved in all aspects of the clinic’s operations.

Prosecutor Cassandra Schansman said Wednesday that Violante and Atkins pleaded to charges.

Violante faced six counts — selling, distributing or dispensing a controlled substance; money laundering — controlled substance selling, distributing or dispensing; two counts of laundering of monetary instruments; laundering of monetary instruments; and engaging in monetary transactions, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia. According to a Jan. 17 plea agreement, Violante pleaded guilty to the first count — selling, distributing or dispensing a controlled substance — with the remaining charges dropped under the deal.

The deal said Violante’s criminal activity and that of “others acting in concert with involved 61,908 (30mg) and 10,564 (15mg) pills of Oxycodone ... .”

Scheduled to be sentenced April 11 at 10:30 a.m. in Rome, Violante could face up to 20 years in prison, a $1 million fine, full restitution to all victims and forfeiture of any and all proceeds from the commission of the offense, according to the plea agreement.

“In recognition of the significant litigation risks to the Government avoided by the Defendant entering into this plea agreement, the Government recommends an additional four (4) level downward variance from the Adjusted Offense Level,” the sentencing recommendations portion of the agreement states. “The Government agrees to recommend that the Defendant be sentenced to the low end of the Guidelines.”

Atkins on Jan. 22 pleaded guilty to withholding information on a crime. Under the plea agreement, the additional charges she faced — controlled substance selling, distributing or dispensing; money laundering — controlled substance selling, distributing or dispensing; and laundering of monetary instruments — will be dismissed.

She could face up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced on April 18 in Rome.

“The Government agrees to recommend that the Defendant be sentenced to the low-end of the Guidelines. The [Government] will recommend that the Defendant be sentenced to home confinement,” according to the plea agreement.

A jury trial for Votrobek, Castellanos and Chapman had been set for Jan. 28 before the judge issued a motion for continuance days ahead of the trial.

According to court documents, there is a correlating case pending in Florida.