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United States v. Stokes

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

April 18, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
TASHAWNA DENISE STOKES, M.D.

          NON-FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOHN K. LARKINS III, United States Magistrate Judge

         Pending before the Court is Defendant TaShawna Denise Stokes, M.D.'s Motion for Severance [Doc. 160]. The government opposes the motion [Doc. 166], and Dr. TaShawna Stokes has filed a reply in support of her motion [Doc. 168].

         On April 12, 2018, I held oral argument on the motion. For the following reasons, it is RECOMMENDED that the motion to sever be DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Charges Against Defendants

         On August 6, 2014, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against Dr. Oscar Jameson Stokes charging him with conspiracy to distribute, outside the usual course of professional medical practice and for no legitimate medical purpose, controlled substances at his pain clinic, Innovative Pain Management Clinic (the “Clinic”), as well as with substantive distribution counts. [See Doc. 1.]

         Approximately eleven months later, on July 7, 2015, the government obtained a twenty-one count superseding indictment, adding Dr. TaShawna Denise Stokes, Dr. Jameson Stokes's wife, as a co-defendant. [Doc. 55.] The superseding and now operative indictment charges Dr. TaShawna Stokes in sixteen separate counts:

. Count One charges both Defendants with conspiracy to distribute and dispense controlled substances in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 846;
. Counts Five through Ten charge both Defendants with illicitly prescribing oxycodone, a Schedule II substance, to a patient identified as “C.F., ” outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, on five separate dates from April through August 2014, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C);[1]
. Counts Eleven through Fourteen charge both Defendants with illicitly prescribing Dilaudid, MS Contin, or Oxycodone, all of which are Schedule II substances, to a patient identified as “J.R., ” outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, on four separate dates from May through August 2014;
. Count Fifteen charges both Defendants with illicitly prescribing oxycodone to a patient identified as “S.M., ” outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, on May 6, 2014;
. Count Sixteen charges both Defendants with illicitly prescribing Dilaudid and Opana ER, also a Schedule II controlled substance, to a patient identified as “B.B., ” outside the scope of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose, on May 20, 2014;
. Count Seventeen charges both Defendants with conspiracy to violate 18 U.S.C. § 1956, the federal money laundering statute, alleging that the Stokes acquired money from illegally prescribing and distributing controlled substances to operate the Clinic, fund salaries of Clinic employees, pay off loans used to purchase Clinic equipment, and to lease space for future medical offices; and
. Counts Twenty and Twenty-One similarly charge Dr. TaShawna Stokes with two substantive violations of the money laundering statute by depositing funds that were the proceeds of the unlawful distribution of controlled substances on February 18, 2014 and February 21, 2014.[2]

[Id.]

         B. The Parties' ...


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