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Press Release

Nine Medical Practitioners Indicted In Conspiracy To Distribute Controlled Pain Medication As Employees Of Breakthrough Pain Therapy Center In Maryville

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On Oct. 7, 2014, a federal grand jury in Knoxville returned a two-count indictment against two medical doctors (M.D.), two physician’s assistants (P.A.) and five nurse practitioners (N.P.) for conspiring to distribute oxycodone, morphine, oxymorphone, and alprazolam, by writing prescriptions for controlled substances which were not for legitimate medical purposes. Additionally, the indictment on file with the U.S. District Court alleges that these nine individuals were also involved in a conspiracy to commit money laundering. Those indicted include:

Walter David Blankenship, P.A., 37, of Maryville, Tenn.; David Eric Brickhouse, P.A., 41, of Knoxville, Tenn.; Jamie Chiles Cordes, N.P., 36, of Maryville, Tenn.; Sherry Ann Fetzer, N.P., 41, of Knoxville, Tenn.; James Brian Joyner, M.D., 45, formerly of Maryville, Tenn., but now residing in Virginia; Buffy Rene Kirkland,N.P., 38, of Maryville, Tenn.; Don Robert Lewis, Jr., N.P., 54, of Maryville, Tenn.; Donna Jeanne Smith, N.P., 60, of Greenback, Tenn.; and Deborah Gayle Thomas, M.D., 62, of Dandridge, Tenn.

All of these individuals were employed at various times by Breakthrough Pain Therapy Center in Maryville, Tenn., which was owned and operated by Sandra and Randy Kincaid during 2009 and 2010. The Kincaids, along with family members Wendi Henry and Dustin Morgan, were previously convicted for their roles in operating the pain clinic and are currently serving prison terms of 39, 69, 18, and 17 years, respectively. The pain clinic ceased operations after raids at several locations by federal and local law enforcement agents in December 2010, when agents seized significant quantities of prescription narcotic pain pills, firearms, and nearly $700,000 in cash.

If convicted, the individuals charged in this indictment face a term of up to 20 years in prison, up to $1 million in fines, and supervision by the U.S. Probation Office upon their release from prison.

This indictment resulted from a lengthy investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, the Fifth Judicial District Drug Task Force, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The United States will be represented in this prosecution by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Jennifer Kolman and Frank M. Dale, Jr.

Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until his or her guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated March 18, 2015