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Trial begins for Dublin doctor

 

Cheek, Linda-web

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

ROANOKE – Trial got underway in U.S. District Court in Roanoke this week for a doctor accused of illegally distributing controlled substances out of her Dublin office.

According to Brian McGinn, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Attorney’s Western District office, the trial of Dr. Linda Sue Cheek of New River Medical Associates is expected to take about two weeks to complete. Jury selection started Monday.

A federal grand jury indicted Cheek in May in a 173-count indictment alleging she was prescribing controlled medications without a valid Drug Enforcement Administration registration.

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, 63, is charged with 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of using a DEA registration number issued to another person, five counts of using a DEA registration number which has been revoked or suspended, and one count of maintaining a drug-involved premise (28 Town Center Drive in Dublin).

Although it is unlikely she would receive the maximum sentence if convicted on all counts, Cheek faces up to 1,224 years in federal prison and a $65 million fine.

In a written response to the charges emailed to The Southwest Times in May, Cheek contends the charges are a government attack on pain management physicians “based on erroneous thought – that the pill causes addiction.”

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.

If convicted of one or more of the offenses alleged in the indictment, the government is seeking to require forfeiture of any property Cheek derived from them, including money and real property (specifically 28-32 Town Center Drive).

If the money or property cannot be located, is transferred or sold to a third party, is moved outside the court’s jurisdiction, is substantially diminished in value or is commingled with other property, the government states an intent to pursue forfeiture of other property, including Cheek’s residence on Miller Ridge Road in Dublin.

Comments

comments

22 Responses to Trial begins for Dublin doctor

  1. Carol

    February 26, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Dr. (and I use the term lightly) Cheek is getting her just dues. I know that she prescribed opiates to someone I hold dear to me. She then told the patient that she was afraid she would get addicted, so she prescribed methodone to help them from gettin addicted. Hopefully justice will prevail and she will be behind bars to never ruin the lives of patients and their families. She needs to pray to God for forgiveness instead of hiding behind God to justify her actions.

  2. Cathy

    February 27, 2013 at 10:55 am

    How did she make money, sheer numbers? I do negative news research as a profession and am convinced Medicaid/Medicare fraud is the biggest source of government spending there is.

  3. Endorsement of Carol's Comments 2/26/13 @ 5:01 pm

    February 27, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    The internet, access to public records and the rights of impacted citzens to use it for their protection from individuals like Cheek is a wonderful tool. You have the right as a citizen of Virginia to look up all licensed medical practictioners who work or have worked in the state. At one of the many VA Board of Medicine web sites, you can find your way to a “License Lookup” redirect. There you can put in any practitioner’s name, including Cheek’s name, or even quicker, her public record license # – 0101049522. There you will see if additional (derogatory)information is available by the column marked “yes.” You can also check all your other doctors, PA’s, nurses, chiopractors, etc as well. Once you are in the site, you can see a listing of all notices, orders, formal and informal hearings, etc. It would be prudent to compare your physicial’s number of “write-ups” vs the average for others in the area. On page 4, of a hearing held and signed by Dr Harp, Director, dated 10/25/05, you can see that in para. “n”, Cheek was noted for having prescribed twenty (20) prescriptions of opiates such as hydrocodone for one patient “S” in a period of a year and a half between 2003 and 2004. Most all patients who have received hydrocodone prescriptions from legitimate neurosurgeons or orthopedic surgeons, etc. will tell you that the surgeon will typically only authorize one fill and one refill, else patient stands strong chance of addiction. If patient have continued serious pain problems, they are referred to “specially trained and accredited pain specialists for very focused and managed care.” These individuals are Diplomates of Specialty Pain institutions. Cheek admits in her video and multiple web sites, she was “self-trained” via magazine articles, seminars, etc. She was directed by the board following the infractions surfaced in the Oct 2005 hearing for extensive additional training on the do’s and don’ts of opiate prescription….you can read for yourself and reach the same decision the jury of her twelve peers made. Other very interesting reading on Cheek’s long history of prescription abuse is contained in the US Govt Federal Register, published on the WEB. Using your favorite search engine, you can find a near 40 page single spaced Decision and Order by a DEA Administrative Law Judge dated 10/28/11. It is very explicit in regard to her infractions over the years and obviously cost the US government a considerable amount of time and money to publish. The detail contained in the VA Medical Board Records and the US Federal Register, clearly offset Cheek’s volumous claims that she was “set up and targeted by the US Government.” In pre-trial hearings, Cheek’s court-appointed defender petitioned the court to not have the Federal Register information nor the fact that her indicted crimes were committed while she was on active federal felony probation for the previous 2008 Medicare/Medicaid fraud plea conviction, else the jury be prejudiced “by the facts.” Fortunately, the jury was able to still see through these “smoke screens.” In closing, there is an old saying: “Do you know what they call the person who graduates at the very bottom of his/her medical class? – Answer – DOCTOR” Everyone should use the web tools at hand to evaluate medical professionals before putting their health and lives in danger of inept or dishonest individuals. In the medical profssion, it is both unethical and illegal for one with a suspended license to use their title (Dr) as Cheek continues to do. Offical titles can only be used by honorably retired individuals – judges, congressmen, medical professionals, military officers, etc. only in terms of “retired respect for the individual’s service to the country/public.” You will notice that in the May 24, 2013 indictment, US DoJ properly referred to this individual by her given name: Linda Sue Cheek, not Dr. Cheek.

  4. RE: Endorsement of Carol's Comments

    March 1, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    I do not even know where to begin with what you wrote…….That was a well thought out response and informational…..I actually had tears streaming for thinking of friends and loved ones that went to this person and trusted. I just want to applaud you for your intelligent comment and educating everyone as to how to research doctors. I just thank GOD that she is finally on the receiving end of despair…….

  5. Joanna

    March 2, 2013 at 6:23 am

    I remember when she had the practice before this 1 was raided. It was common knowledge that you signed a paper, maybe was required for so many visits before she would write whatever you asked for. Shame on you!! For the real people who do qualify and do need the real treatment for pain management. Maybe not even long term moderated right and the proper follow up care. You was just abusing the system for your own financial gain!! You deserve the maximum for what you have done!!!!

  6. Crystal

    March 15, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Ok so I have a silly question on this, is this just to be talked about what is shown she has on the jury now? Or does it help me with the messed up stuff she did to me back in 2000? I have opened my mouth on the stuff that was never looked the right way and what happened to me back then with her being my doctor. All I am saying on here for others to see and read is if she’s done the same to everyone, I hope she does go to jail for it all.

  7. An Addict

    April 1, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Dr. Cheek. I was your patient when you were practicing in Pulaski in the 90′s. I was young, you actually were my family physician and I came to you because of a family referral. However, at that time I was only coming to you for birth control. Oxycontin had already began in the community or town at least, except not many people knew about them. My neighbor was an addict with hep C from shooting up in the 80′s and you seen him for awhile. He’s dead now. Then in 1996 my uncle that had referred me to you passed away. You had wrote him Oxycontin 20 mg for his pain with cancer. I will say this now. They made him sicker and you put him on something else. Then I moved back to another part of the county in Pulaski and was seeing a doctor closer. Oxycontin really hit Pulaski County big in 2000. I was having problems at this time and I did get addicted on my own to them. Dr. Knox in Roanoke got in trouble during these times and I was shocked to learn that you had also lost your license. First I’m not here to defend you nor attack you. Doctor’s are humans and yes every doctor has the oath of ‘Do No Harm’ but there are plenty of doctors who do harm without narcotics. I don’t know if you intentional was writing pain medicine back during the late 1990′s and 2000 because you were trying to make money or defraud people. I want to say this though. My boyfriend and I were in a wreck in 2001 and then due to addiction in 2002 began going to the Methadone Clinic. We both come to you because you somehow had regained your license and was practicing in Dublin. We both had the same issues and a few different ones over the wreck. We did not come at the same time. The methadone was out of control. I was honest on my patient information about the clinic and all. I thought perhaps you would remember I was once your patient. I was turned away for being an addict. Though you say you try to help addiction. When my boyfriend came and of course knew why I was turned away, you seen him, took his money and prescribed him Percs and he had another appointment that he never kept. However, I want to say, I am on suboxone now. If anyone thinks that an addict of opiates became an addict due to a doctor they are truly ignorant. Now there are some cases of patients becoming addicted but that is when the patient needs to speak with their doctor about being tapered down and moved to something else. You would be surprised at how many patients are elderly people that seem harmless, then sell their medicine top dollar. The community is not ruined because this doctor was here. Before opiates were a problem, was there a doctor prescribing weed, alcohol, cocaine, crack, acid, crystal meth, or any other mind altering drug?? Believe me, after being addicted to opiates and even now still fighting an uphill battle with yet another ‘cure drug’ by a doctor, I have met every scum in this county and surrounding area, all the way to Florida. We all were doing things way before opiates came out. And now people, wake up…….. they aren’t making the OC’s any longer. The new brands other than Roxycontin no addict wants them because you would have to actually swallow them rather than crush, smoke, or shoot them up, which is what causes the quickening high. Most addicts I know wouldn’t spend a dime on those. ADD medicine and crystal meth are huge around here now. Shall we blame Dr. Cheek for that? What I do know is that addicts can own their addiction but it is extremely hard to get clean. When the opiates were first being prescribed, the FDA didn’t even know the damaging effects to the brain. Opiate addiction is now being called a disease. So, how was Dr. Cheek to know? There are people whom do need to be on strong medication. Addicts ruined that. But the government is to blame as well for treating doctors as pushers and scaring most doctors into not wanting to give someone in pain a Tyenol 3. Blame is a great game people. Pulaski Co. has had drugs in this area for many long years before opiates were here. The opiates are leaving, and before they came through, Pulaski County has a bad name. Tell me what exactly this county does to keep it’s youth off of drugs? There are no real treatment places here for addicts. I had to go to Lynchburg to began to try to get clean. Now what Dr. Cheek you did know is that you had no license or number and could not write these medicines. Instead of speaking of God and of your ‘help’ pages, why not just answer the simple question? If you knew you had no license to write pain medication, you were denied in 2009, then why were you using someone else’s number to write out these pain pills? This is what the charge is and you cannot say God wanted you to lie. Then again, man’s law and God’s law aren’t the same. To the idiot who wrote that about teeth and muscles……… what drug are you on??? My best friend has been prescribed seizure medicine since we were 11 years old and we are 37 now. This is a medicine for a legit reason by an upstanding doctor in this community and it has decayed her teeth. As will Mt. Dew. Check the studies. Dr. Cheek can write opiates until she is dead and she has no control over the pharmaceutical companies who have produced opiates now so that it’s impossible to get a buzz an addict seeks. Also, we could point the blame at pharmacy owners whom fill these prescriptions early. We could point the finger at the pushers that go to a doctor and lie about pain to get medicine. And all the MRI’s, Scans, Blood Work and anything else cannot always tell a doctor why a patient is in pain. I’m pretty sure she did begin making all of her patients seek other treatments for pain rather than medicine while in her care. What is scary is this; parents, your children are now stealing your prescription medicines from high blood pressure pills to depression medicines and mixing them all up to make a cocktail. The cigarette stores were selling a synthetic weed that was harming people. People are using bath salts bought at head shops and dying. We should shut down the gas companies and makers of glue also because people still inhale these to get a buzz. Stop the blame game. Let the system do it’s job. None of us own a Heaven nor a Hell, and do not have the say in what is right or wrong. Who are you to judge whether this woman knows God or not. As I said I’m not defending her actions. I’m simply pointing out that to blame her for the drug and addiction problems and then leave your 13 year old at home alone with a bathroom shelf full of seizure, high blood pressure, ADD pills and anything else….. raise your children. If you seen drug deals going on in front of her building, did any of you stop to call the police? Did any of you stop to notify her it was going on? As for parents calling her, first a doctor is to keep confidential information, and the parents need to start at the beginning of their parenting skills. We all have a role in addiction and to come on here and attack or defend her shows why this county is in such a state. Ignorance is abundant in this town and county and I hope Dr. Cheek you can your trial moved to another jurisdiction because you are already being prosecuted. God help us all.

  8. An Addict

    April 1, 2013 at 2:49 am

    I did leave out two major points. 1. Opiate addiction began it’s ‘epidemic’ in this area around 2000. This is 2013 and everyone knows of Linda Cheeks prior charges. Someone mentioned people driving from out of state to see her. Everyone is well aware of how strong and harmful this addiction is. So, for the patients seeking her out, they didn’t care to get help. An addict has to help themselves. If i wanted to be an addict still, I’d simply find a doctor that doesn’t know of my addiction or go back to the Life Center of Galax. 2. I see everyone mad, as they should be, because her charge isn’t ‘making an addict’. It is fraud on the government. However, I noted if convicted her property, ect will be seized. Will this money go to building recreation for our youth, treatment programs for addicts, or anything else useful to this area? No! We all should know that is what the New River Valley Regional Jail is for. Addicts. So, yes she should be punished for her fraud against the government. But I read several people say ‘money, money, money’ is all she cared about. Seems if convicted, that’s truly all this government cares about also. As for the comment by someone ‘what she did to you in 2000′. Do you want money or to be reimbursed for being an addict because if that’s the case, so do I. Geez. As stated above, 2000. This is 2013 so don’t tell me opiate addicts aren’t over aware of the facts and do not care. As for this ‘doctor’ losing her license, there are 10 more waiting to take her patients. Let her pay for her crime of fraud. Lay the blame on this whole community. That’s all because everyone has an opinion and it’s sad that most are close minded. Shame on all of you talking about your loved ones being addicted because of Cheek, and then not standing up and seeking other help for this community.

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