Case against Tallulah doctor to proceed

Published 11:21 am Thursday, June 19, 2014

The prescription fraud case against a Tallulah physician will move forward in Warren County Circuit Court.

Circuit Judge M. James Chaney ruled this week that Mississippi has jurisdiction over a case involving 74 counts of prescription forgery and a count of conspiracy against Dr. Lawrence Francis Chenier III, 61, of Vicksburg.

Chenier’s attorney, Marshall Sanders, argued last week that the offense in the 75-count indictment occurred in Louisiana.

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Prosecutors argued that all the drugs involved in the indictment were picked up at a Vicksburg pharmacy, thus giving jurisdiction to Warren County.

Chaney gave Sanders until 10 a.m. Friday to present case law to the contrary but he failed to do so.

“No legal authorities were submitted, and the court is now ready to rule and is of the opinion that defendant’s motion is not well-taken and should be denied …” Chaney wrote in the order.

Chenier is accused of writing the 74 prescriptions under assumed names to his co-defendant and live-in girlfriend Patti Carr of Vicksburg.

Sheriff’s deputies said Carr picked up 13,000 pills of the prescription painkillers hydrocodone and Lyrica using prescriptions from Chenier.

More than 300 empty pill bottles were found inside the home the couple shared at 100 Colonial Drive.

Both defendants have filed petitions to enter guilty pleas, but hearing dates had not been set Wednesday.

The couple is also the target of a civil lawsuit filed in January 2012

District Attorney Ricky Smith filed the suit that seeks to seize the home on Colonial Drive.

The house and land, valued at less than $200,000 according to the suit, are subject to forfeiture because of having been used to facilitate violation of the Mississippi Uniform Controlled Substances Law.

The suit is still open before Warren County Judge Johnny Price.

Chenier is currently listed on the roster at Madison Parish Hospital, according to the hospital’s website, however, the state of Louisiana has placed his medical license on probation. The Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners lists Chenier’s license as active but limited.

He received his medical degree in 1980 at Meharry Medical College in Nashville and has been in practice since 1982, records show.