Doctor & wife busted by TBI

By: BEN BENTON Staff Writer
Source: The Daily Post-Athenian (Athens TN)
10-04-2004 =115448

An Athens physician and his wife were arrested on multiple counts of drug possession by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation during a search of his office on Cook Drive Thursday.

Arrested were Dr. Lorenzo Dudley Nichols III, 38, and Sherry Ann Nichols, 35, both of 446 County Road 758, Riceville, according to records at the McMinn County Justice Center.

Contacted this morning in Nashville TBI Public Information Officer Jennifer Johnson said a tip led to the couple's arrest.

"Yesterday, the Tennessee Bureau Investigation's Medicaid Fraud Unit executed search warrants at the office of Dr. Lorenzo Nichols. The warrants were obtained after investigators received a tip the doctor had been writing unnecessary prescriptions for Schedules II, III and IV narcotics," Johnson said.

Johnson said TBI agents and McMinn County Sheriff's deputies served the search warrant at Nichols' office at 705 Cook Drive Suite 203.

"During the search Thursday morning at his office agents discovered evidence of the narcotics and drug paraphernalia that prompted charges against the doctor and his wife," Johnson said. "Dr. Nichols was also arrested on a child support attachment from Floyd County, Ky."

Dr. and Mrs. Nichols were each charged with possession of Schedule II drugs, possession of Schedule III drugs, possession of Schedule IV drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of Schedule VI drugs, jail records stated. Lorenzo Nichols was additionally charged on an attachment for child support on a Kentucky warrant.

Mrs. Nichols is free on $6,500 bond while Dr. Nichols is being held without bond on the attachment for child support and on $8,500 bond on the drug-related charges, jail records stated.

Both are scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court today for arraignment.

"Ironically, I think his medical license expired at midnight last night," Johnson said this morning.

Johnson said the TBI probe involved considerable investigation leading up to the execution of the search warrant.

"There was extensive legwork done on the case before yesterday," said Johnson. "We've been working in conjunction with some informants for quite some time."

According to TBI officials, some of the drugs seized in connection with the charges included hydrocodone, Tylox, Xanax, and marijuana, along with other drugs.

Johnson said the TBI wanted to thank the McMinn County Sheriff's Department whose officers assisted in the operation.

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