Judge: Mississippi physician must forfeit $1.3M after bribes

Rejecting arguments that the amount is too high, a federal judge on Wednesday ruled that a physician who bribed Mississippi's former prisons chief should have to forfeit nearly $1.3 million.

Posted: Oct 27, 2017 8:05 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2017 8:05 PM

By JEFF AMY
Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Rejecting arguments that the amount is too high, a federal judge on Wednesday ruled that a physician who bribed Mississippi's former prisons chief should have to forfeit nearly $1.3 million.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan III found that's a fair amount for Dr. Carl Reddix to turn over after he paid $187,500 in bribes to onetime Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps to secure contracts to provide health care for inmates that ultimately netted $2.5 million for the company he half-owns.

"Bribery is a serious breach of the public trust and the forfeiture amount is a sliver of the actual contracts Reddix unlawfully secured," Jordan wrote. "In fact, the forfeiture amount is directly proportional to Reddix's ownership interest in the proceeds of the offense."

Reddix agreed to forfeit some money in his May guilty plea, but argued the amount set by probation officers was so high, it violates his constitutional right to be free from excessive fines.

The judge, however, quoted a presentencing report that finds that Reddix and his company, Health Assurance LLC, received $2.5 million in net benefit from the Mississippi Department of Corrections. That calculation isn't the same as profit -- instead, the government subtracted the company's $29 million in direct costs from $32 million in revenue. The government wants Reddix to forfeit half the $2.5 million because he owns half of the company.

The judge rejected arguments that he couldn't hold Reddix liable for the whole amount, entering what's called a money judgment, even if Reddix doesn't have that much cash and property. He also rejected Reddix's claim that the forfeiture penalty was disproportional to other recommended punishments, including a fine between $15,000 and $150,000 and prison sentence of nine to 10 years.

Reddix argued that the state still owes him $1.2 million in pharmacy bills and kept $100,000 in company equipment. He also argued that Health Assurance performed medical services required under the contract and Mississippi lost no money. Jordan, though, said that's not the right standard.

"The question is not whether Reddix performed under the contracts, but whether he bribed a public official to obtain them," the judge wrote. "The public has a right to an above-board bidding process."

Epps acknowledged accepting more than $1.4 million in bribes from private contractors and is serving a nearly 20-year prison sentence. Eight other people including Reddix have been convicted so far.

Reddix's lawyer didn't immediately respond to an email late Wednesday seeking comment.

The judge wrote that he will consider the large forfeiture in sentencing, meaning, the fine and jail time could be lower. He directed Reddix and prosecutors to agree to the details of a forfeiture order within 10 days, after which he'll set a sentencing date.

Follow Jeff Amy at: http://twitter.com/jeffamy. Read his work at https://www.apnews.com/search/Jeff_Amy.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 309223

Reported Deaths: 7153
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21005250
Hinds19989411
Harrison17590303
Rankin13388277
Jackson13169243
Madison9965212
Lee9900170
Jones8319161
Forrest7554149
Lauderdale7232237
Lowndes6306144
Lamar614685
Lafayette6081118
Washington5296133
Bolivar4778130
Oktibbeha458097
Panola4461103
Pearl River4447142
Warren4310119
Marshall4302103
Pontotoc417672
Monroe4063132
Union405175
Neshoba4009176
Lincoln3892109
Hancock373785
Leflore3471124
Sunflower332090
Tate325984
Pike3226105
Scott311973
Yazoo305369
Alcorn301566
Itawamba297977
Copiah294365
Coahoma290779
Simpson290486
Tippah285368
Prentiss276659
Marion266479
Leake262473
Wayne261541
Grenada257385
Covington255380
Adams247082
Newton246161
George238947
Winston226181
Tishomingo222867
Jasper220248
Attala213673
Chickasaw205857
Holmes187272
Clay183354
Stone179733
Clarke178177
Tallahatchie176240
Calhoun165632
Yalobusha160236
Smith159734
Walthall131143
Greene129633
Lawrence126823
Noxubee126634
Montgomery125842
Perry125238
Amite121041
Carroll121026
Webster113932
Jefferson Davis105932
Tunica103425
Claiborne101430
Benton97525
Kemper95728
Humphreys94732
Franklin83123
Quitman78916
Choctaw74417
Wilkinson65329
Jefferson64928
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 522512

Reported Deaths: 10790
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson755371494
Mobile39129799
Madison34124500
Tuscaloosa25408444
Montgomery24059573
Shelby23225242
Baldwin20730302
Lee15638166
Calhoun14358311
Morgan14171273
Etowah13705348
Marshall12012220
Houston10416279
Elmore10024203
Limestone9862148
Cullman9509191
St. Clair9486236
Lauderdale9280233
DeKalb8762183
Talladega8127173
Walker7151276
Autauga6763106
Jackson6762110
Blount6532133
Colbert6236132
Coffee5436113
Dale4781111
Russell431239
Franklin421382
Chilton4130110
Covington4069115
Tallapoosa3922148
Escambia390374
Dallas3528150
Chambers3519122
Clarke347360
Marion3076100
Pike306676
Lawrence296395
Winston273272
Bibb256761
Marengo248561
Geneva246475
Pickens233259
Barbour227155
Hale218675
Butler213268
Fayette209660
Henry188444
Cherokee182744
Randolph177841
Monroe173140
Washington165538
Macon156548
Clay150255
Crenshaw149557
Cleburne147041
Lamar140034
Lowndes137353
Wilcox124727
Bullock122040
Conecuh109728
Perry107726
Sumter103332
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
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