News and Press Releases

Two Men Indicted in Healthcare
Fraud Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 16, 2011

OXFORD, Miss. – John Marshall Alexander, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Abelino Farias, Special Agent in Charge, United States Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General, announced that:

Raymond Lamont Shoemaker, 38, of Tupelo, former Chief Executive Officer and former Chief Operating Officer of Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville, Mississippi, and Earnest Levi Garner, Jr., 66, of Batesville, were indicted earlier this month by the federal grand jury for the Northern District of Mississippi in connection with a nursing services kickback and bribery scheme at the Tri-Lakes Medical Center. The ten-count federal indictment charged Shoemaker with a nursing services kickback and bribery conspiracy, receiving kickbacks for nursing services, conspiracy to commit and committing healthcare fraud, making false statements to the FBI in connection with a federal investigation, making false statements to USDA in connection with a loan, and embezzlement from Tri-Lakes Medical Center. Shoemaker was also charged with embezzling from Humphreys County Hospital in Belzoni, Mississippi, while he was the Administrator of the Humphreys County Hospital. Garner, a Panola County businessman, was charged with a nursing services kickback and bribery conspiracy, engaging in a healthcare fraud
conspiracy and healthcare fraud, and bribery, all in connection with Tri-Lakes Medical Center.

Shoemaker faces up to 80 years in prison and $2.5 million in fines if he is convicted on all counts. Garner faces up to 25 years in prison and $1 million in fines if he is convicted on all counts. Both could be ordered to pay restitution to their victims. Shoemaker and Garner appeared before United States Magistrate Judge S. Allan Alexander in Oxford today and were each released on a $50,000 secured bond. Trial dates have not yet been set.

John Marshall Alexander, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi said: “Our healthcare system depends upon fair dealing by medical service providers. Decisions affecting the health and well-being of our citizens cannot be tainted by kickbacks, corruption, and fraud. When individuals and companies attempt to pervert the healthcare system, it is our healthcare consumers and taxpayers who suffer the consequences. We will work vigorously to ensure that instances of fraud and corruption in our healthcare system are discovered and that those committing it are brought to justice. The United States Attorney’s Office is grateful for the hard work of all of the federal, state and local agencies involved in this investigation, and we will continue to work with them until this case is brought to a conclusion.”

Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in Mississippi stated: “Health care fraud affects every American. Waste, fraud and abuse take critical resources out of our health care system, and contribute to the rising cost of health care for all Americans. The FBI, together with its federal, state, and local partners, is working aggressively to pursue health care fraud criminals and bring them to justice. Today’s arrests are the result of an investigative partnership between the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Office of Inspector General, and the United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Mississippi.”

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Department of Agriculture - Office of Inspector General, the United States Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General, the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office, the Panola County District Attorney’s Office, and the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Charlie Spillers, Clay Dabbs, and Robert Mims.

To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.

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