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Press Release

Phenix City Chiropractor Receives 37-Month Sentence for Conspiring to Commit Wire Fraud Related to Truck Driver Physicals

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Alabama

            Montgomery, Alabama – On Thursday, January 10, 2019, Dr. Kenneth G. Edwards, 65, a resident of Columbus, Georgia and previously a practicing chiropractor in Phenix City, Alabama, received a 37-month for conspiring to commit wire fraud, announced United States Attorney Louis V. Franklin, Sr. Dr. Edwards orchestrated a scheme to conduct fraudulent physical examinations on prospective long-haul truck drivers and then submitted false documents to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).

            According to court documents, Dr. Edwards was registered with the USDOT to conduct physical examinations on those seeking commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs). Federal regulations require that anyone who holds a CDL undergo a thorough physical examination at least once every two years. These regulations ensure that CDL-holders are physically capable of operating 18-wheel tractor-trailers without putting other motorists at risk.

            Contrary to his agreement with the USDOT, Dr. Edwards did not thoroughly examine the applicants who came to him for their USDOT-required physicals. Instead, he collected cash payments from the applicants and then signed forms indicating that the applicants were physically capable of driving commercial vehicles. In many instances, Dr. Edwards certified an applicant’s physical fitness without conducting even a partial physical examination. Sometimes, Dr. Edwards permitted his staff to conduct physical examinations and then stamp his signature on the USDOT forms. On occasion, Dr. Edwards knowingly failed to report to the USDOT conditions that would have disqualified an applicant from obtaining a CDL. For example, as discussed in court on Thursday, on one occasion, Dr. Edwards reported that an applicant had 20/20 vision in both eyes. In fact, one of the applicant’s eyes was prosthetic.

            At the sentencing hearing, Chief United States District Judge W. Keith Watkins described Dr. Edwards’s crime as a “serious” one. Chief Judge Watkins also found that Dr. Edwards had abused the trust placed in him by the USDOT to conduct physicals and that, as a result of his offense, Dr. Edwards had fraudulently obtained approximately $224,000.

            “To make a few easy bucks, Dr. Edwards was willing to risk putting physically unqualified individuals behind the wheels of large commercial vehicles,” announced United States Attorney Franklin. “Our region’s roadways became more dangerous as a result of Dr. Edwards’s greed. It is my hope that Dr. Edwards’s case will send a message to other health care providers who might take shortcuts like the ones that led Dr. Edwards to spending 37 months in federal prison. My office will not tolerate the placing of profit over the well-being of society.”

            This case was investigated by the United States Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General with assistance from the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan S. Ross and Thomas R. Govan, Jr. prosecuted the case.

Updated January 17, 2019