A federal grand jury in Chattanooga has returned a sealed 66-count indictment against Faith Blake, a.k.a Faith Marvell Brueland, Faith Fuentes, and Faith Baker, 40, of Houston; Barbara Lang, a.k.a Barbara Langford and Aunt Bea, 58, of Rossville; Charles Reed Larmore, a.k.a Chuck Larmore, 64, of Chattanooga, and Dr. Jerome Arnold Sherard, 58, of Hixson. The indictment was unsealed Tuesday.
Ms. Blake, Ms. Lang, Larmore, and Sherard are charged with conspiring to illegally distribute and dispense several controlled substances, including oxycodone, methadone, morphine, hydrocodone (Vicoden), and alprazolam (Xanax).
They are also charged with maintaining drug-involved premises (pain clinics). Larmore and Sherard are also charged with specific distributions of controlled substances to certain patients.
Forfeiture allegations seeking $7.2 million were also brought by the grand jury. The indictment details over $1 million in cash and bank accounts that have already been seized.
Ms. Blake and Ms. Lang owned and operated Superior One Medical Clinic at different locations in Chattanooga from December 2010 to July 2011. Ms. Blake operated Elite Care Pain Clinic at different locations in Chattanooga from August to November 2011. Ms. Lang and Larmore operated Primary Care and Pain Clinic at different locations in Chattanooga from August 2011 to the present. Sherard also operated his own medical practice under several names including, Sherard Clinic, Sherard Pediatric Clinic, Sherard Family Clinic, Sherard Medical Center, Sherard General Practice and Pain Management Clinic, and Skyview Medical Center of Chattanooga, from at least September 2009 through June 2012. Sherard was also the medical director for Superior One Medical Center and Elite Care Pain Clinic. Larmore was a nurse practitioner who worked at Superior One Medical Center and Primary Care and Pain Clinic before becoming the owner of Primary Care and Pain Clinic.
Ms. Blake was arrested in Houston on Sept. 6. She appeared in court on Sept. 7 before a U.S. Magistrate Judge and entered a plea of not guilty to the charges in the indictment. She was released pending trial.
Ms. Lang and Larmore were arrested in Chattanooga. Sherard was arrested in Seymour, Tn. They appeared in court on Sept. 7 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan K. Lee and entered pleas of not guilty to the charges in the indictment. They were also released pending trial which has been set for Nov. 5 in U.S. District Court in Chattanooga. As part of their conditions of release, both Larmore and Sherard surrendered their DEA licenses and are now prohibited from writing prescriptions for controlled substances.
If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million on each of the conspiracy charges, up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 on each of the maintaining a drug involved premises charges, and prison terms of up to 20 years and fines of up to $1 million for each distribution of a Schedule II controlled substance, up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $500,000 for each distribution of a Schedule III controlled substance, and up to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for each distribution of a Schedule IV controlled substance.
As part of this investigation, on June 5, 23 individuals from Roane County who utilized these clinics as sources for their prescription drugs were charged with drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracies. To date, 18 of those have either pleaded guilty or signed plea agreements on file with the U.S. District Court. Trial for the remaining individuals in that case is set for Feb. 19, 2013. John Wesley Goss, 58, of Rockwood, Tn., is the lead defendant in the Knoxville case. Some individuals in that case face up to life imprisonment, others up to 30 years in prison, and the remainder up to 20 years in prison. All could face fines of at least $1 million.
“Prescription drug abuse is a widespread problem in our district and country. We will continue to aggressively indict and prosecute those cases,” said U.S. Attorney William C. Killian.
The indictments are the result of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, Internal Revenue Service, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, Chattanooga Police Department, Roane County Sheriff’s Office, Rockwood Police Department, and Kingston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregg L. Sullivan will represent the United States in the Chattanooga case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Stone represents the United States in the Knoxville case.