Originally created 11/05/02

Doctor's assistant receives prison time



A doctor's former office manager who assisted in the investigation of her boss was given a reduced sentence Monday.

Carolyn T. Mack, 38, faced as much as 27 months in a federal prison for the unlawful dispensation of a controlled substance. In August, she admitted she wrote a prescription for a narcotic for a patient at Augusta Medical Center on Druid Park Avenue.

"I'm not here to make any excuses," Ms. Mack said Monday in U.S. District Court. "I'm sorry for what I have done."

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. sentenced Ms. Mack to 18 months in prison. When she is released she must perform 150 hours of community service if she is not employed full time.

Ms. Mack knew what she was doing was wrong, her attorney, Pete Theodocion, told the judge Monday, but it was Dr. Rita Nzeribe-Udom who instructed her staff to write the prescriptions and sometimes left Ms. Mack prescriptions that were signed but otherwise blank.

Dr. Nzeribe-Udom was giving people whatever prescription narcotics they wanted, in large doses, Mr. Theodocion said.

The doctor has not been publicly accused of any crime, but federal prosecutors and the Georgia Drugs and Narcotics Agency are still investigating the medical office. The prosecutor asked the judge to reduce Ms. Mack's sentence because of her cooperation.

Judge Bowen told Ms. Mack that he was astonished she had continued to write the prescriptions even after a narcotics agent and a federal prosecutor both explained to her that it was illegal.

"I've seen some defendants ask for it, but you were begging for it, Ms. Mack," the judge said.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or shodson@augustachronicle.com.