Athens Doctor and Others Arrested in Prescription Fraud and Extortion Scheme
ATHENS (WRCB) -- The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, along with the Athens Police Department, have arrested four people Thursday. A 10th Judicial District Grand Jury indicted them on multiple charges including prescription fraud, extortion, conspiracy and filing false reports. The charges resulted from a several month long investigation conducted by the TBI’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Athens Police Department.
Dr. Rodney Dunham, 56, was indicted on one count of dispensing prescriptions by fraud. He ran a walk-in clinic on Congress Parkway in Athens, Tennessee. The Tennessee Department of Health Related Boards suspended Dunham's license in October. Dunham and 19-year-old Laura Cheek, of Athens, TN were allegedly engaged in a relationship exchanging sex for prescription drugs.
Laura Cheek was charged with obtaining prescriptions by fraud, extortion, conspiracy to obtain prescriptions by fraud, conspiracy to commit extortion and filing false reports. Her mother, Patricia Cheek, 42, of Etowah, TN was also indicted for obtaining prescriptions by fraud, extortion, conspiracy to obtain prescriptions by fraud and conspiracy to commit extortion. Patricia Cheek was also a patient of Dunham’s along with Laura Cheek’s neighbor, John Virgil Davis. Davis, 26, of Athens was charged with obtaining prescriptions by fraud, extortion, conspiracy to obtain prescriptions by fraud, conspiracy to commit extortion and filing false reports.
The three allegedly threatened to expose Dunham’s relationship with Laura Cheek in order to obtain prescription drugs. Laura Cheek and Davis filed a police report in August alleging she had been raped. She did not name her attacker.
All four are in the McMinn County Justice Center. Dunham’s bond is set at $8,000 while the other three bonds are set at $25,000 each. Their arraignments are scheduled for Monday, November 30.