Doctors sentenced for roles in South Georgia "pill mills"

PHOTO: Opioid Pills, Photo Date: 2/14/2015
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By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 7, 2018

MACON, Ga. (WCTV) -- Two South Georgia doctors who were involved in "pill mill" operations at pain clinics in Valdosta and Columbus received their sentences on Friday.

Dr. William Bacon, 83, was sentenced to 72 months in prison and the forfeiture of over $95,000 while Dr. Donatus O. Mbanefo, 65, was sentenced to 96 months in prison.

Dr. Mbanefo was also convicted of two additional counts of unlawful dispensation of controlled substances during the jury trial from May 29 to June 13 in Valdosta federal court.

Court documents say a jury found both Dr. Bacon and Dr. Mbanefo guilty of conspiracy to dispense controlled substances outside the usual course of medical practice and a legitimate medical purpose at their clinics.

By: Aubrey Brown | WCTV Eyewitness News
June 15, 2018

MACON, Ga. (WCTV) -- Two South Georgia doctors are facing decades behind bars for their involvement in "pill mill" operations at pain clinics in Valdosta and Columbus.

Dr. William Bacon, 82, and Dr. Donatus O. Mbanefo, 64 were found guilty at trial of conspiracy to dispense controlled substances. Mbanefo was also convicted of two counts of unlawfully dispensing controlled substances.

Court documents show Bacon worked at the Wellness Center of Valdosta at 2016 E. Adair Street from September 2011 until the clinic closed more than two years later.

Prosecutors say during the 27 months Bacon was employed at the clinic, he wrote more than 29,000 prescriptions for controlled substances.

Mbanefo saw patients at the Relief Institute of Columbus and wrote prescriptions for more than 127,000 Oxycodone pills in the three months he worked there.

Prosecutors contended the doctors were seeing an unrealistic amount of patients daily, no forms of insurance were accepted, only cash, and clients could call a "VIP" line to be seen sooner for extra payment.

Investigators said Bacon and Mbanefo were paid anywhere between $1,200 to $1,400 per day to see patients, and received a bonus if they saw more than 40 patients a day.

Bacon is facing up to 20 years in federal prison and Mbanefo could see 60 years behind bars.

United States Attorney Charlie Peeler said, “This case demonstrates the importance of pursuing those individuals, including licensed medical professionals, who are preying on the addictive nature of opioids and other controlled substances.”

Others who worked alongside the doctors at both clinics have pleaded guilty to numerous charges and are still awaiting trial.