Bond met by suspects in Cartersville 'pill mill' operation
by Matt Shinall
Jul 08, 2011 | 5908 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
All five suspects indicted last week on federal drug and money laundering charges linked to a Cartersville pain clinic have been granted bond.

Jason Votrobek, Jesse Violante and Roland Castellanos met bond Wednesday in Rome's U.S. District Court for the sum of $50,000 each. The remaining suspects, Tara Atkins and James Chapman, were granted bond last week at their first appearances.

Charged with the operation of an illegal "pill mill," the suspects allegedly used the Atlanta Medical Group, 16 Collins Drive in Cartersville, as a front for the distribution of Oxycodone. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Hulsey argued against bond in the case of Votrobek and Violante due to criminal records and flight risks.

"With respect to two of the defendants, we asked for detention -- that was for Jason Votrobek and for Jesse Violante, and for the remaining defendants, we agreed to bond," said Hulsey.

Hulsey was not involved in the bond agreement for Chapman, whose first appearance occurred in Macon.

Hulsey cited criminal records from both Votrobek and Violante in his recommendation for detention as well as being heightened flight risks.

"Because it is a drug case having a maximum sentence of greater than 10 years, there is a presumption that the person is both not reasonably likely to appear in court and also poses a danger to the community," Hulsey said, explaining Wednesday's general argument and the danger posed. "We highlighted, quite simply, the danger of these pill mills to the community, generally. We talked about how they were big in terms of number of patients that were serviced, in terms of the amount of money that was made, the number of pills that were distributed, ... so we argued that the operation of pill mills posed a great danger to the community."

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, 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 Votrobek, of Vero Beach, Fla., is outlined in the indictment as principle owner of the Atlanta Medical Group. Violante, also of Vero Beach, is indicted as a co-owner and operator, while Castellanos, of Cartersville, is named facility director. Office Manager Tara Atkins, also of Cartersville, was allegedly involved in all aspects of the clinic's operations.

All five suspects are expected back in court for pretrial conference July 18.