SAVANNAH, Ga. (WRBL) – A former clinic owner and CEO was sentenced to federal prison after confessing to laundering money for an infamous ‘pill mill’ doctor who illegally distributed substantial amounts of drugs.
Jamesetta Whipple-Duncan, 59, of Savannah, Georgia, received a 60-month prison sentence after pleading guilty to one count of money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney David H. Estes.
In addition to Whipple-Duncan’s prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Lisa Godbey Wood ordered her to pay $86,074 in restitution and serve three years of supervised release.
According to court documents and Whipple-Duncan’s plea agreement, as the now-closed Georgia Laboratory Diagnostics LLC owner, in Garden City, Georgia, she employed Dr. Frank Bynes Jr., 69, of Savannah, Georgia.
Before Whipple-Duncan’s conviction, Dr. Bynes Jr. received a 240-month prison sentence and was required to pay $615,145 in restitution to Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare in February 2020 after a federal grand jury found him guilty on 13 counts of the unlawful dispensation of controlled substances and three counts of health care fraud.
Whipple Duncan’s role consisted of owning and operating the clinic, employing Dr. Bynes Jr., and profiting from her clinic. At the same time, it was used as a base of operation where he illegally distributed controlled substances, including ‘highly addictive’ opioids and ‘drug cocktails.’
Whipple-Duncan handled the clinic’s finances, which mainly consisted of cash payments from the clinic’s patients. She used the cash to continue to aid the clinic’s operations and finance purchases for herself, including a Mercedes-Benz sedan, a Hummer H2, a Can-Am Spyder, and a Polaris Slingshot.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of the Inspector General, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the FBI, and an investigator with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Johnathan A. Porter and Patrick J. Schwedler prosecuted the case.