Crime

Published on November 6th, 2021 | by TLV News

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Water Valley, Mississippi Podiatrist Charged for Alleged Foot Bath Scheme

A federal grand jury in Oxford, Mississippi, returned an indictment on October 27 that was unsealed today, charging a Mississippi podiatrist with a scheme to defraud health care benefit programs, including Medicare, by prescribing and dispensing medically unnecessary medications and ordering medically unnecessary testing, including in exchange for kickbacks and bribes.

According to court documents, Carey “Craig” Williams, 63, of Water Valley, owned and operated a podiatry clinic, North Mississippi Foot Specialists P.C., as well as an in-house pharmacy. The indictment alleges that Williams regularly prescribed antibiotic and antifungal drugs to be mixed into a tub of warm water for patients to soak their feet. These drug cocktails often included capsules and creams that were not medically indicated to be dissolved in water and were often chosen based on their anticipated reimbursement amount rather than on medical necessity.

The indictment also alleges that Williams ordered medically unnecessary molecular diagnostic testing to be performed on his patients’ toenail clippings, including testing for the bacteria that causes “cat scratch disease,” which is unlikely to be found in a toenail.

In addition, the indictment alleges that Williams solicited and received cash kickbacks from a marketer in exchange for referring prescriptions for foot bath medications and referring biological specimens and testing orders to pharmacies and laboratories.

Between approximately July 2016 and July 2021, Williams allegedly caused pharmacies to submit over $4.9 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for dispensing expensive foot bath medications that were not medically necessary.

Between approximately January 2018 and April 2021, Williams also allegedly caused a diagnostic laboratory to submit more than $6.4 million in false and fraudulent claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary molecular diagnostic testing. 

Williams is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud; seven counts of health care fraud; one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to offer, pay, solicit, and receive kickbacks; and two counts of soliciting and receiving kickbacks.

He made his initial court appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge David A. Sanders of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. If convicted, Williams faces a maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment for conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud; 10 years of imprisonment per health care fraud count; five years of imprisonment for the kickback conspiracy count; and five years of imprisonment per count of soliciting and receiving kickbacks. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner for the Northern District of Mississippi, Special Agent in Charge Derrick L. Jackson of the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), and Acting Assistant Director Jay Greenberg of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division made the announcement.

HHS-OIG and the FBI are investigating the case.

Trial Attorneys Sara E. Porter and Justin M. Woodard of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Clayton A. Dabbs of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi are prosecuting the case.

The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, comprised of 15 strike forces operating in 24 federal districts, has charged more than 4,200 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $19 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes. More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Carey “Craig” Williams, 63, of Water Valley, Mississippi. (Photograph from Facebook)
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About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.



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