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Press Release

Assistant U.S. Attorneys receive awards for their work in nationwide drug enforcement actions

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Georgia

SAVANNAH – Four assistant United States attorneys who participated in significant civil drug enforcement actions received awards Aug. 22 from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration during a DEA training session in Savannah.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tommy Clarkson, Jonathan Porter and Brad Patrick, and Civil Division Chief Shannon Statkus, each received Certificates of Appreciation for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Drug Law Enforcement from Uttam Dhillon, Acting Administrator of the DEA, and Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent-in-Charge of the DEA’s Atlanta Field Office.

Statkus, Clarkson, Porter and Patrick were recognized for their roles in the National Health Care Fraud Takedown that in June resulted in charges against 601 defendants across 58 federal districts, including 165 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving more than $2 billion in false billings. These cases included criminal charges and civil penalties against a wide variety of defendants spanning the Southern District of Georgia.

Their work also resulted in the nation’s largest settlement of its kind involving allegations of drug diversion at a hospital when Georgia’s Effingham Health System in May agreed to pay fines of $4.1 million to resolve allegations that hospital staff failed to prevent a significant amount of opioids from being transferred to non-prescribers, and for failing to timely report the suspected diversion to the DEA.

In addition, the four AUSAs were applauded for their work in the civil complaint against Dr. Firoz Patka, of Martinez, Ga., that resulted in a default judgment in July in United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia of $1.2 million in penalties. Patka received the judgment when he failed to answer complaints alleging he violated the Controlled Substances Act by pre-signing subscriptions for opioids and other controlled substances at his offices in Louisville, Ga.; Hephzibah, Ga.; and Thomasville, Ga.

“The outstanding work of our staff in combatting fraud and prescription drug abuse helps to protect the public from the scourge of crime and addiction,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “We’re proud of Shannon, Tom, Jonathan and Brad for their outstanding work, and appreciate this welcome recognition from our partners at the DEA.”

Photo, left-right: USA Bobby L. Christine, AUSA Tommy Clarkson, Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon, AUSA Jonathan Porter, AUSA Brad Patrick, and DEA Atlanta Special Agent-in-Charge Robert J. Murphy. Not pictured: AUSA Shannon Statkus, Southern District Civil Division Chief.

 

Updated August 27, 2018