Husband, wife headed to prison for connection to pain clinic pill mill scheme

Published 5:08 pm Monday, November 18, 2019

A federal judge Monday sentenced a Springville couple involved in a St. Clair County pill mill scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Brad Byerley and IRS-Criminal Investigations Atlanta Field Office Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Holloman.

United States District Judge R. David Proctor sentenced Cindy Louise Hyche Dunn, 54, to 10 years in prison on one count of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance outside the usual course of professional practice and not for legitimate medical purpose and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering for purposes of promoting the pill conspiracy. Her husband, Thomas Mason Dunn, 57, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for the same money laundering conspiracy. The couple pled guilty in March.

From January 2012 through December 2015, Cindy Dunn ran a pain management clinic in Moody, Alabama operating under the name Cindy Dunn & Dr. Buckingham, M.D., Weight Loss Clinic and Pain Management (CDPM). CDPM was not a legitimate pain clinic. It was a pill mill churning out thousands of prescriptions for opioid painkillers. Thomas Dunn performed financial transactions on behalf of CDPM to further the pill mill scheme. He also received prescriptions for opioid painkillers from CDPM.

“The opioid crisis remains a significant problem in the country and in the Northern District of Alabama,” Town said. “The Department of Justice is determined to stamp out the operation of illegal pain clinics by all means as a part of the fight against opioid abuse, and the Northern District of Alabama is fully committed to the fight. The defendants will now serve time in a federal prison for their crime, and they will be joined shortly by those like them.”

“The drug-addiction epidemic is growing and is a significant problem across the country, including here in Alabama,” Byerley said. “DEA is committed to bringing to justice those who engage in the dispensing of prescription drugs outside the course of a legitimate medical purpose. The defendants in this case preyed upon those addicted to prescription drugs in order to line their own pockets. The sentences handed down are a direct result of the hard work put forth by all law enforcement agencies involved. Today justice has been served.

“Today’s sentencings are just another step by law enforcement to stand up to the threat of pill mill operations who flood our streets with dangerous substances. This investigation is just a small piece of the puzzle in the ongoing fight against the opioid crisis,” Holloman said. “Our communities have been ravaged by the steady influx of illegal prescribed controlled substances. IRS-CI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners in an effort to dismantle pill mill operations, by following the money and leveraging our resources.”