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Pill Mill operators receive federal sentence

DEA agents raided the Tennessee Pain Clinic in May of 2016, and gathered dozens of boxes of evidence. (Image: WTVC)

By Greg Bird

An Oak Ridge medical director and his business partner, accused of running a “pill mill,” received lengthy terms behind bars last week in United States District Court in London for conspiring to distribute oxycodone and other drugs and for money laundering, with the majority of the pills going to McCreary, Knox, Bell and Whitley counties.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Kentucky Timothy Dennis Gowder, 72, of Oak Ridge, and Anwar Mithavayani, 56, of Boca Raton Florida were sentenced to 21 and 25 years respectively for their roles in the case.
According to the indictment issued in May 2017 the Tennessee Pain Institute, a pain clinic operating in the Chattanooga area, was responsible for illicitly dispensing more than 1.6 million Oxycodone pills, as well as hundred of thousands of other narcotic pills. It was stated in the court records that about half of the clinic’s customers traveled from the four Kentucky counties to receive prescriptions.
Gowder was medical director for the clinic, and Mithavayani was a co-owner of the facility. After a month-long trial the defendants were convicted of operating the clinic as a pill mill and laundering the proceeds of the operation.
Two other co-defendants, Pete Tyndale and James Bradley Combs will be sentenced later this month. A fifth co-defendant, identified as Larry Karr of Keavy, Kentucky pled guilty last year to a drug trafficking charge and was sentenced to 108 months in prison.
Under federal law, Gowder and Mithavayani each must serve 85 percent of their prison sentence. Upon release, both will be under the supervision of the United States Probation Office for three years. The Court also imposed a fine of $250,000 and a community restitution award of $200,000 upon Gowder. Mithavayani must pay a $500,000 fine and a $400,000 community restitution award.
“The sentences imposed reflect the seriousness of the harm caused by the defendants’ unlawful and medically unnecessary distribution of controlled substances,” said United States Attorney Robert M. Duncan, Jr. “The defendants’ callous actions undoubtedly contributed to the current opioid crisis. We remain resolute in our commitment to hold accountable drug traffickers who profit from addiction, including those who illegally deal drugs under the guise of medical care.”
U.S. Attorney Duncan, Special Agent in Charge D. Christopher Evans of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Louisville Field Division, Special Agent in Charge Matthew Line of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, Andy Beshear, Kentucky Attorney General, and Richard W. Sanders, Commissioner of Kentucky State Police jointly announced the sentences.
The investigation was conducted by the DEA, the IRS, and the Kentucky Attorneys General Office as part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. The U.S. Attorney’s Office was represented in the case by Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Rosenberg.
An appeal on the final judgment is pending.

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