GA: Georgia assistant principal gets 2-year sentence for role in drug scheme

Healthcare Facility Rx Drug Diversion – Pill Mill Operation

A former assistant principal at an elementary school in Savannah, Georgia, was sentenced to two years in federal prison for her role in the distribution of opioids that involved an Alabama physician.

Melodie Donne Armer Cheatham, 38, of Savannah, resigned as interim assistant principal of Otis J. Brock Elementary School on April 11, the Savannah Morning News reported. Her resignation came eight months after she pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiring to unlawfully possess oxycodone with intent to distribute and for illegally distributing the prescription drug, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Alabama.

In addition to her two-year sentence, Cheatham will have three years of supervised release, WJCL-TV reported.

Cheatham was one of 11 people who pleaded guilty to the charges in September 2021, the news release stated. She had been employed by Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools since 2015, WTOC-TV reported.

The scheme operated from 2012 until April 2020 and prosecutors said the defendants distributed 38,780 30-milligram oxycodone tablets, WSAV-TV reported. Cheatham’s relationship to other defendants in the case was unclear, the Morning News reported.

Investigators said that in many cases, the prescriptions were coordinated through a third party and the defendants would never go see the doctor, WSB-TV reported.

Beauchamp pleaded guilty to the same offense as the 11 defendants on Oct. 20, 2020, prosecutors said in a news release.

In a statement, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools officials said they were “deeply disappointed” in Cheatham’s behavior.

“This individual is no longer employed with the school district. During the time that Melodie Cheatham was employed with the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System, she had no employee infractions and there is no information to support that any of the actions with which she is charged took place in our school setting,” the statement said. “District employees are held to high standards and we expect further actions may be taken by the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. We are deeply disappointed in this behavior and do not condone any actions that place the students or staff of our district at risk.”

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