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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Alice Martin: A World-Class Phony On Health-Care Fraud

Alice Martin, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, recently made quite a production of a guilty plea in a Medicare fraud case.

The case involved Shelby County businesswoman Marie Weller King, who pled guilty of defrauding Medicare of $724,000. King received a sentence of 18 months in federal prison, and her husband William King will be sentenced in January for his role in the scheme.

The case came about after a whistleblower in an outside auditing firm examined the Kings' books and found something amiss.

In her usual unctious way, Martin said: "King's sentence reflects that persons who create false documents, knowing that those documents will be used in a health-care fraud scheme, will be pursued and prosecuted for their crimes."

Is Martin telling the truth? Not on your life.

The Kings obviously do not have political connections. Because our research team at Legal Schnauzer has uncovered at least two cases where folks with political connections received pretty much a free pass on health-care fraud.

And who gave the free passes? Why, none other than Alice Martin.

One of the cases involved someone very close to Alabama Governor Bob Riley. And we are talking verrrrry close. Do you think this association had anything to do with Alice Martin's decision not to pursue a whistleblower's allegations of health-care fraud?

Hmmm.

The second case involves my former employer, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and we already have made references to that case. But many more details are to come.

The crux of the UAB case? The university was penalized roughly $3 million for a fraud scheme that one whistleblower estimated totaled more than $300 million. And the whistleblower should know what he was talking about. He is a forensic accountant and served as UAB's research compliance director.

End result? UAB was punished for only a fraction of the fraud it allegedly committed.

And guess what? Someone verrry high up in the chain of command in the University of Alabama System, of which UAB is a part, just happens to have an association with Bill Canary and the Business Council of Alabama. And Canary, of course, is largely responsible for Alice Martin's placement in the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Do you think that connection had anything to do with UAB's slap on the wrist? (And come to think of it, do you think this connection had anything to do with my termination at UAB?)

Let's take a close look at the Justice Department's press release about the Kings' guilty plea. In the last paragraph, it says the public is encouraged to contact law enforcement if they have information about health-care fraud.

Oh, really?

Well, we've uncovered three whistleblowers who came forward in two separate cases. In one case, Alice Martin's office did almost nothing. In the other, it has done absolutely nothing.

And we will tell you all about it here at Legal Schnauzer.

The real message from Alice Martin? Don't bother coming forward if the fraudsters have the right political connections.

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