Long-delayed case of Jones County doctor accused of running 'pill mill' set to go to trial
Two years ago, Dr. Thomas Sachy pleaded guilty to some charges, but a federal judge allowed him to withdraw it. Now, he hopes to convince a jury he is innocent.
'We've started to see doctors end up in the crosshairs':
At Georgia Pain and Behavioral Medicine in Gray, people would come if they were in pain or needed additional help, but one doctor is accused of doing more than making that pain go away.
In 2018, The Drug Enforcement Administration raided the medical office and arrested Dr. Thomas Sachy and three other employees. Sachy was accused of illegally prescribing drugs and money laundering.
Two years ago, he pleaded guilty to some charges, but the federal judge allowed him to withdraw that plea. Now with a new lawyer, Sachy hopes to convince a jury he is innocent.
"I was introduced to him some time ago. I actually received a call from his wife. He was incarcerated at the time and became acquainted with the case, and now I'm representing him in a federal and criminal case," said Attorney Ronald Chapman.
ORIGINAL STORY: Gray doctor, three staff members face federal drug charges
Dr. Sachy's New Attorney
Ronald Chapman is a federal criminal defense attorney for Chapman Law Group in Michigan. He has defended other doctors accused of illegally prescribing opioids.
"The most recent is the case of United States v. Ghearing, which we just finished trying in Nashville. Previously, I represented 2 physicians before that one -- Dr. Pompy, who is an interventional anesthesiologist in Michigan, and another doctor, Dr. Lewis," Chapman said.
While Chapman was the attorney in those cases, he says the jury found one of those three doctors guilty. He says as America's opioid epidemic grew, federal authorities have targeted the doctors who prescribe them.
"As we've evolved as this opioid epidemic has started to surface, we've started to see doctors end up in the crosshairs of the Federal Government for questionable decision-making," Chapman said.
Chapman says when the government starts questioning medical decisions, doctors may be reluctant to prescribe opioids, even to patients who need them.
Sachy's case has been postponed for trial at least a half-dozen times due to the pandemic, for legal reasons, or because he'd replaced his attorneys. He recently asked for another delay for health reasons, but trial judge Clay Land said "Enough." Land wrote, "If he plans to schedule a future surgery, it should be scheduled either after the conclusion of his jury trial -- defendant has had plenty of time to schedule his surgery, and the court will not be sympathetic to further excuses."
Chapman told us that Sachy recently had a heart attack and needs open-heart surgery, but he says the doctor will be ready for trial.
"It's unfortunate that he was charged in this case, but our system allows him to go to trial and can test the evidence, and it's exactly what we'll do when this case progresses," Chapman said.
The family of Michelle Allen questioned Sachy's decision which they say led to her death in 2016. In 2021, we talked to her daughter Brittany. Allen accused Sachy of overprescribing oxycontin and oxycodone for her mother's back pain.
"I would've wanted to see him held accountable for my mother's death," Allen said.
With his trial scheduled for May 1, 2023, in Columbus, Georgia, it will be up to a jury to decide, "Who is the real Dr. Thomas Sachy?"