By MELINDA WILLIAMS
ROANOKE – A federal grand jury Thursday convicted Dr. Linda Sue Cheek of 172 of the 173 counts of an indictment charging her with illegally distributing controlled substances out of her Dublin office.
If she were to receive the maximum sentence on all 172 counts, she faces 1,204 years in federal prison and a fine of $64.5 million when she is sentenced in June. She remains free on bond pending sentencing.
In a comment posted on The Southwest Times Facebook page Thursday night, Cheek said, “I appreciate all the prayers and support that I’ve received. I praise God for his word. I know He is faithful to those who follow his word. The problem we have here is a country that is not God-fearing. Hopefully, if the rest of my life is spent in prison, there will be others ready to step in and change the direction this country is heading. To God be the Glory.”
Cheek’s website, lindacheekmd.com, did not have any posts regarding the verdict as of Friday morning. The site had been posting updates on the trial in terms of scheduling, but the last time it appears to have been updated was Friday, Feb. 15.
The website had been used to invite supporters to come to the trial and stand by the doctor. Early on, the site was offering to find accommodations for those coming from out of town and there were also plans to provide lunch and a place for “prayer, praise and worship.”
However, the Feb. 15 update stated, “We do not have a location for lunch, prayer, praise and worship for those coming in to support Dr. Cheek. I provided soup for 15-20 people on Tuesday, and only three came. So I decided not to do that anymore.”
Cheek, 63, was convicted of 172 counts of prescribing controlled medications without a valid Drug Enforcement Administration registration. The only count for which she was acquitted was maintaining a drug-involved premise at her office at 28 Town Center Drive in Dublin.
The charges for which she was convicted included 86 counts of distributing scheduled controlled substances without holding a valid certificate of DEA Registration, 81 counts of using a DEA registration number issued to another person, and five counts of using a DEA registration number which has been revoked or suspended.
Cheek’s license to practice medicine was suspended in 2008 after she pleaded guilty in federal court to defrauding the government Medicaid and Medicare healthcare programs. Her license was re-instated in February 2009, then re-suspended in July 2011.
Even though her license to practice medicine was reinstated in 2009, it “did not, and could not, reinstate her DEA Certificate of Registration” allowing her to prescribe medications, states the indictment for which she is now on trial. It says her application for a DEA number was specifically denied in October 2011.
Cheek contended the charges were simply a government attack on pain management physicians “based on erroneous thought – that the pill causes addiction.”
In an earlier response to the charges, she added, “Pills don’t cause addiction. Anxiety, despair and toxicity cause addiction. Dr. Cheek’s alternative medicine helped prevent addiction by treating toxicity. Now, with the situation in this country of pain not being treated, more addiction is created by the Justice Department than any physician ever could.”