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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.

Cases: 266598

Reported Deaths: 5852
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17807191
Hinds16967332
Harrison14298204
Rankin11280221
Jackson10976190
Lee9088145
Madison8619169
Jones6782118
Forrest6236124
Lauderdale6128192
Lowndes5564120
Lafayette5229101
Lamar507465
Washington4951125
Bolivar4149109
Oktibbeha409482
Panola388281
Pontotoc378560
Warren3698103
Monroe3693110
Marshall358570
Union357764
Pearl River3508106
Neshoba3499154
Leflore3122109
Lincoln307688
Hancock296362
Sunflower293075
Tate281162
Alcorn273554
Pike271081
Itawamba270063
Scott260849
Yazoo257156
Prentiss254554
Coahoma251555
Copiah250749
Tippah250150
Simpson243872
Leake238467
Marion225973
Grenada224272
Covington222473
Adams215371
Wayne215034
Winston207771
George204839
Newton200046
Attala197464
Tishomingo195661
Chickasaw189644
Jasper182538
Holmes172268
Clay167537
Tallahatchie157535
Stone152925
Clarke148662
Calhoun141822
Smith130726
Yalobusha123835
Walthall115037
Greene114529
Noxubee114126
Montgomery112736
Lawrence107617
Carroll106922
Perry105331
Amite102426
Webster97424
Claiborne89725
Tunica89321
Jefferson Davis88930
Benton86523
Humphreys84824
Kemper81020
Quitman7149
Franklin70717
Choctaw63813
Wilkinson59925
Jefferson57121
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 443009

Reported Deaths: 6662
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson649101007
Mobile31746574
Madison28413217
Tuscaloosa21566275
Montgomery20088332
Shelby19452132
Baldwin17333189
Lee13261107
Morgan12678142
Etowah12141181
Calhoun11555206
Marshall10487123
Houston9031164
Limestone838181
Cullman8296124
Elmore8243110
Lauderdale7946107
DeKalb7900107
St. Clair7876130
Talladega6523112
Walker6050183
Jackson603245
Colbert558194
Blount548586
Autauga540762
Coffee466964
Dale412785
Franklin377550
Russell358415
Chilton346873
Covington340880
Escambia339244
Tallapoosa3163109
Dallas313696
Chambers305470
Clarke303336
Pike265231
Lawrence255855
Marion254661
Winston234742
Bibb222948
Geneva213047
Marengo210531
Pickens200431
Hale186144
Barbour183438
Fayette178829
Butler174860
Cherokee166031
Henry160025
Monroe152621
Randolph146636
Washington142727
Clay130746
Crenshaw124845
Macon122837
Cleburne122125
Lamar120622
Lowndes116836
Wilcox108322
Bullock104628
Perry100518
Conecuh98022
Sumter90627
Greene77923
Coosa64018
Choctaw52124
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