Mississippi physician gets 6 years in prison for bribery

A physician who paid $187,500 in bribes to Mississippi's prisons chief was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday, a lighter term than what he could have received.

Posted: Dec 15, 2017 9:49 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A physician who paid $187,500 in bribes to Mississippi's prisons chief was sentenced to six years in prison on Friday, a lighter term than what he could have received.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan said that Dr. Carl Reddix needed a substantial punishment after bribing Christopher Epps, the Mississippi Corrections Commissioner at the time, to get and keep contracts to provide inmate medical care through his Health Assurance company.

"The scope, nature and significance of the crime is just too serious to impose a sentence lower than the one I would impose," Jordan said.

But Jordan found that the eight to 10 years recommended by federal guidelines was too much for the 59-year-old Reddix, considering his history of charitable and community service, as well as the sentences of others. Prosecutors recommended Reddix serve seven years.

Jordan also fined Reddix $15,000 and ordered him to forfeit nearly $1.3 million, scheduling him to report to prison on Jan. 29. Prosecutors filed a motion Friday asserting the government's right to seize his houses, cars, land and bank accounts.

At sentencing, Reddix and his lawyers revealed that the commissioner had demanded that the doctor hire an unnamed lobbyist in 2007. Epps was getting kickbacks from lobbyists hired by prison contractors. Reddix refused, and Epps backed down after then-House Speaker Billy McCoy intervened. But Reddix said Epps, at a 2012 meeting, demanded monthly bribes, threatening he would delay payments to Health Assurance.

A friend argued that Reddix should get a light sentence, asserting that the loss of his medical license, business and reputation already amounted to substantial punishment.

"I'm asking that you be merciful, to be honest," said Walter Johnson, a lawyer who testified as a character witness. "The guy has already lost everything."

Dozens of Reddix's relatives and friends attended the sentencing hearing. The judge said he received more than 100 letters supporting him.

Prosecutors, though, noted that Reddix paid Epps increasing monthly amounts for more than two years as Health Assurance gained more business.

"This wasn't a mistake or a one-time occurrence," U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst said in a statement. "Sadly, it was simply greed, coupled with callousness for our government, public institutions and the criminal justice system."

Epps acknowledged accepting more than $1.4 million in bribes and is serving a nearly 20-year prison sentence. Nine people have been convicted so far, and insurance broker Guy "Butch" Evans is set for trial in January.

There were also questions about Health Assurance payments to counties in Mississippi and Alabama.

Alabama health care consultant Michael Goddard pleaded guilty in April to lying to the FBI concerning money Health Assurance paid him related to an inmate health care contract in Jefferson County, Alabama, which includes Birmingham. Goddard was sentenced to two years of probation.

Robert Simmons was sentenced to more than seven months in prison after pleading guilty to passing bribes from Health Assurance to a Mississippi Gulf Coast official in exchange for a jail medical contract. Former Harrison County Supervisor William Martin killed himself in 2015, hours before he was due in federal court on bribery charges.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307332

Reported Deaths: 7095
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20757248
Hinds19869408
Harrison17475302
Rankin13307275
Jackson13095243
Madison9886210
Lee9854169
Jones8289160
Forrest7522146
Lauderdale7185237
Lowndes6261144
Lamar610284
Lafayette6026117
Washington5279132
Bolivar4769129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4440103
Pearl River4418139
Warren4277118
Marshall4267100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4056132
Union403575
Neshoba3984176
Lincoln3869107
Hancock371985
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322681
Pike3177104
Scott310472
Yazoo304268
Alcorn297664
Itawamba296776
Copiah292965
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284668
Prentiss275659
Marion265679
Wayne261341
Leake260973
Grenada254882
Covington254380
Adams245882
Newton244859
George237647
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213273
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182354
Stone179131
Clarke176676
Tallahatchie175240
Calhoun163130
Yalobusha158636
Smith158534
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126223
Noxubee125833
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite119941
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105332
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95126
Humphreys94332
Franklin81723
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518588

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753351487
Mobile37698798
Madison33829494
Tuscaloosa25245443
Montgomery23942565
Shelby23094238
Baldwin20617300
Lee15510165
Calhoun14277311
Morgan14137268
Etowah13660345
Marshall11952219
Houston10379278
Elmore9988200
Limestone9806147
Cullman9467188
St. Clair9422234
Lauderdale9208227
DeKalb8745181
Talladega8042171
Walker7087275
Jackson6753110
Autauga6715103
Blount6480135
Colbert6200130
Coffee5397112
Dale4766110
Russell428238
Franklin419882
Chilton4080109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3892146
Escambia387574
Dallas3526149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305475
Lawrence295295
Winston272272
Bibb256258
Marengo248561
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218675
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176741
Monroe171240
Washington163838
Macon154348
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58624
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