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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.

Confirmed Cases: 96677

Reported Deaths: 2911
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7143160
DeSoto559460
Harrison388374
Jackson350570
Madison331089
Rankin330679
Lee273670
Forrest248973
Jones248779
Washington225977
Lafayette219139
Lauderdale2059125
Bolivar184566
Oktibbeha179952
Lamar171635
Lowndes158058
Neshoba1579104
Panola149930
Sunflower147146
Leflore141081
Warren140750
Pontotoc127816
Pike124051
Monroe123568
Copiah119133
Scott117627
Coahoma116329
Marshall110617
Lincoln110253
Holmes109859
Grenada109036
Yazoo106230
Simpson104646
Tate100437
Union99824
Leake96038
Adams94137
Wayne90421
Pearl River89253
Marion86535
Prentiss86217
Covington82722
Itawamba82621
Alcorn82011
George78013
Tallahatchie77321
Newton77224
Winston74219
Tishomingo69038
Chickasaw68424
Tippah67117
Attala66725
Walthall60126
Clarke60046
Clay59518
Hancock58722
Jasper57515
Noxubee55116
Smith53415
Calhoun52112
Tunica49715
Claiborne46516
Montgomery46420
Yalobusha43514
Lawrence43313
Perry42419
Greene38817
Humphreys37715
Quitman3775
Stone37412
Jefferson Davis34211
Webster33813
Amite33210
Carroll31912
Wilkinson30518
Kemper29015
Sharkey26613
Jefferson2439
Benton2273
Franklin1933
Choctaw1866
Issaquena1053
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19676351
Mobile13373292
Montgomery8834184
Tuscaloosa8621118
Madison788178
Shelby597849
Lee589760
Baldwin547750
Marshall394343
Calhoun351544
Etowah349045
Morgan329228
Houston290321
Elmore266748
DeKalb241621
St. Clair232235
Walker231684
Talladega216629
Limestone210120
Cullman189920
Dallas179026
Franklin177129
Autauga176425
Russell17603
Lauderdale171333
Colbert164626
Blount161115
Escambia160824
Chilton158530
Jackson157511
Covington140127
Dale138644
Coffee13486
Pike119810
Chambers116442
Tallapoosa116085
Clarke109116
Marion96429
Butler91239
Barbour8827
Winston74412
Marengo72020
Pickens66214
Bibb65410
Lowndes65327
Randolph64713
Hale63528
Geneva6254
Lawrence62023
Cherokee60813
Bullock60414
Monroe5898
Clay5858
Washington55713
Perry5416
Crenshaw53732
Conecuh53511
Wilcox53111
Henry5055
Macon48018
Fayette4578
Sumter43819
Cleburne3805
Lamar3672
Choctaw34712
Greene30315
Coosa1713
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