Former Hospital CEO Charged with Wire and Tax Fraud
PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA – Phillip E. Hill Jr., 42, of Blountstown, Florida, was arraigned today in the U.S. District Court in Panama City after a federal grand jury returned an indictment, unsealed today, charging him with 24 counts of wire fraud and 4 counts of filing false tax returns. The indictment was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
The indictment alleges that, between 2010 and 2015, Hill used his positions as Chief Executive Officer and department head of Emergency Management Services to embezzle money from Calhoun-Liberty Hospital. According to the indictment, Hill billed the hospital for goods it never received and did so using invoices in the name of “Southeastern Medical Supply,” a sham business connected to a bank account controlled by Hill. It is alleged that Hill also ordered medical supplies from eBay and other vendors and billed the hospital for these supplies at prices far in excess of what Hill actually paid for them. The indictment alleges that Hill used the funds in the Southeastern bank account to pay personal credit card bills, to fund a business he owned and operated, to obtain cash, and to pay personal expenses, including grocery and travel expenses. The indictment also alleges that when a hospital employee asked Hill for contact information for Southeastern, Hill claimed that he did not have the phone number because he had lost his phone, and asserted that the last time he had “talked with” representatives of Southeastern, they were “talking about going out of business.”
The maximum penalty for each wire fraud count is 20 years in prison. The maximum penalty for each count of filing false tax returns is a maximum of 3 years in prison. The trial is scheduled for July 2, 2018, at 8:15 a.m. at the United States Courthouse in Panama City.
This case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service—Criminal Investigation, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the Blountstown Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Harwin and Karen Rhew-Miller are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation by a grand jury that a defendant has committed a violation of federal criminal law and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.