Roanoke Endodontist Pleads Guilty To Obstruction
Robert Kidder Admits Pressuring Employee To Lie
ROANOKE, VIRGINIA – A local endodontist, with a practice on Starkey Road, pled guilty this afternoon in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Roanoke to an obstruction charge.
Robert Stanley Kidder, 66, of Roanoke, Va., waived his right to be indicted on January 24, 2014, and pled guilty this afternoon to a one-count Information charging him with obstruction of a criminal investigation of health care offenses.
“Dr. Kidder devised a scheme through which he obtained portions of payment for his services from both patients and their insurance carriers,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “’When an employee discovered his fraud, he tried to keep her silent, then modified and destroyed records documenting his crimes. For his brazen acts of obstruction of justice, Dr. Kidder has been held accountable.”
“Attempting to destroy evidence and encourage deceit during a federal investigation is a serious crime in and of itself,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge D.J. Hathaway, “and as witnessed in today’s plea is not a crime that will be overlooked nor tolerated by law enforcement during any of their investigations.”
According to evidence presented at today’s guilty plea hearing by Assistant United States Attorney Jennie Waering, Kidder’s endodontic practice accepted cash and private dental insurance for procedures. However, Kidder required all patients to pre-pay for a portion of their service. Often times, after insurance payment was received, Kidder was overpaid for his services. When an overpayment occurred, Dr. Kidder was responsible for refunding his patients, which, in several cases, he chose not to do.
In April 2012, a new employee discovered that Kidder was not issuing some of these refunds. When confronted with this information, Kidder fired the new employee and began manipulating his practice’s accounting information to “zero-out” patients’ account balances without issuing refunds. In November 2012, the recently fired employee took legal action against Kidder regarding her termination. Within days of that disclosure, Kidder began issuing refunds to those patients whose accounts had not already been zeroed out.
In December 2012, Kidder began a course of action with one of his employees to obstruct a potential employment civil law suit and potential criminal investigation into healthcare fraud offense. As part of his obstructive conduct, Kidder staged a break-in at his office where all the computers containing accounting information were stolen. In addition, Kidder repeatedly advised and instructed his employee in what she should say to attorneys and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The employee reported this information to the FBI.
During recorded conversations, the transcripts of which were entered into the record during today’s hearing, Kidder told the employee “just say no, nothing was zeroed out because the accounts are gone, there’s no way that can be proven anyway.”
Furthermore, after an employee received a subpoena to appear before a Federal Grand Jury, Kidder instructed the employee what lies to tell the Federal Grand Jury and what would happen to them both if she told the truth.
At sentencing, Kidder faces a maximum possible penalty of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000.
The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jennie L.M. Waering is prosecuting the case for the United States.