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FBI alleges kickbacks, fraud more in 10-count indictment

Business owner, former Tri-Lakes CEO named in unsealed documents

By John Howell Sr.

Indictments charging former Tri-Lakes CEO Ray Shoemaker and Batesville businessman Lee Garner in an alleged kickback scheme involving nursing services stem primarily from the period from May 2005 to June 2007, when the hospital was headed for bankruptcy, according to records from the U. S. District Court.

The indictments were handed down by the Federal grand jury February 24, sealed and then opened March 15.

 Count One alleges that Garner, former Panola County Administrator and Tri-Lakes Medical Center Board of Trustees President David Chandler, and Shoemaker entered a conspiracy in which Garner paid Chandler a bribe to use his influence with Shoemaker to increase Tri-Lakes Medical Center’s use of Garner’s Guardian Angel Nursing Services and On-Call Nursing Servicing for hospital staffing.

Chandler is not named in the indictment, though his name is sprinkled throughout court papers.

“Garner paid approximately $268,000 in kickbacks and bribes pursuant to the scheme,” the first count of the indictment alleges. In return, Chandler “approved an increase of $50,000 in Shoemaker’s annual salary.”

Count two alleges that Garner paid a bribe; Count three alleges that Shoemaker solicited and accepted a bribe; Count four alleges that Garner and Shoemaker conspired to use the bribery and kickback scheme to influence a Federal health program (Medicare and Medicaid), count five alleges that Garner committed healthcare fraud; and count six alleges that Shoemaker committed healthcare fraud.

In Count seven, Shoemaker is charged with lying to FBI agents about payments from Chandler. The eighth count charges Shoemaker with lying to representatives of the Rural Development Administration of the Department of Agriculture. Count nine alleges that Shoemaker embezzled $250,000 “on or about April 7, 2006.” The final count of the indictment alleges that Shoemaker embezzled $39,922 from Humphreys County Hospital.

Until November, 2005, Tri-Lakes Medical Center was owned by the City of Batesville and Panola County. It was then sold to Physicians and Surgeon’s Hospital Group, a non-profit corporation. Shoemaker, who had served as CEO prior to the sale, remained with the hospital in an administrative capacity until 2007.

In August, 2007, the hospital filed for bankruptcy. It was operated under a court-appointed Chief Restructuring Officer until it was purchased in late August, 2009 by the current owners, Alliance Health Partners, LLC, a physicians syndicate owned by local doctors.

The 21-page federal indictment can be viewed online at

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Visitor Comments
Submitted By: NU Submitted: 3/30/2011
I'm wondering why it's taken the FBI this long to get this Shoemaker guy. Now he's down in Claiborne County . . . SO FBI keep looking this is just the beginning!

Submitted By: na Submitted: 3/22/2011
You are the most ignorant group of redneck panola county stone throwing "good ole boys" I have ever seen. Get a life and let the FEDS do their jobs. The truth will come out in the end.

Submitted By: j.williams Submitted: 3/22/2011
we need to clean up the corruption in our sheriffs dept. first and when we clean our law enforcement up then we can trust them to go after the rest of the trash in panola politics like they are suppose to

Submitted By: citizen Submitted: 3/22/2011
Sorry, but the wrong people are being charged!

Submitted By: CRC Submitted: 3/21/2011
I am sooo glad all of this has come to light. It was quite evident back in 2005 that something was "fishy" when all the potential bidders for the hospital dropped out of the process one by one, leaving an opening for Physicians and Surgeon Group to acquire the hospital. Then more dirty work continued with Shoemaker, Chandler and Garner leading the way. Panola county taxpayers were cheated once again. It's good to finally see white collar criminals experience the due process that they deserve. I hope that this investigation is thorough and conclusive and justice served.

Submitted By: Katherine Submitted: 3/21/2011
And why, exactly, was Chandler not charged since he received the bulk of the payments??? The "talk and walk" practices of our Federal Bureau of Investigation are nauseating. I would like to have Chandler's job since there are no consequences for corrupt behavior. Oh, but wait, it would require one to have NO conscience.

Submitted By: willie Submitted: 3/20/2011
I don't understand something here, if Chandler received a bribe, why is he not charged? Is it because he talked and the charges were dropped. I wonder how many other "shady deals" that Chandler has pulled on the citizens of Panola County? No wonder he moved to Grenada, where no one knew him and he even changed churches. But God said that you will not be able to hide any thing from Him. There will more things that will come to light concerning Mr. Chandler.

Submitted By: Bobby Submitted: 3/19/2011
Is it improper to think that Chandler got caught doing something and, abruptly, resigned and left the county. Remember he sold his house to that Rolondo dude. What makes me think that Chandler is the unindicted conspirator who will be going down for a soft landing on a feather bed instead of a hard steel jail bed right after he takes down a lot more folks. I have a feeling that there are quite a few folks in the Panola County area who, to put it mildly, have what is euphemistically called a spastic sphincter.

Submitted By: Grady Submitted: 3/19/2011
I think it is a shame that our fabulous Attorney General Jim Hood was presented with the exact same information and failed to follow through because of political pressure from certain groups. The potential for great things in Batesville is limitless. It's the people running the place that are holding it back to keep a tight grip on their little slice of the pie. Shoemaker was a fraud. Glad they got him. Needs to be more done though.

Submitted By: Max Submitted: 3/18/2011
Why not open all the Books? Never have seen anymore on Rolando....would Chandler's name be all over that too? Too bad so much is hidden from the Taxpayers, but I guess it's commonplace everywhere.

Submitted By: Norman Hughes Submitted: 3/18/2011
I would like to know why Chandler's name isn't mentioned in the indictment? It seems he received the money. I would like to say so much more, but it probably wouldn't be printed.

Submitted By: zozimos Submitted: 3/18/2011
"Maybe the High Sheriff will let them serve their time at the jail since they hold federal inmates now." :-) The justice would indeed be poetic.

Submitted By: Gina Submitted: 3/18/2011
The money side of medicine is big fat lie with thieves running the show.

Submitted By: Fred G Sanford Submitted: 3/18/2011
Lamont !!! You Big Dummy !!!

Submitted By: citizen Submitted: 3/18/2011
The problem is the whole panola county and city officials all have their hand in improper conduct, they get away with anything, and then they throw others under the bridge so they can get off. And then they just get slapped on the hand and still keep on going and us tax payers are paying their salary!

Submitted By: Tax paying citizen Submitted: 3/17/2011
I would like to know why the others, named and un-named, who was mentioned in this indictment are not charged. I read through the entire legal document and it seems they made more money than Shoemaker. I am so glad that someone finally decided that there is corruption in Panola County. Now as long as they don't get off with just a slap on the wrist. Maybe the High Sheriff will let them serve their time at the jail since they hold federal inmates now.

Submitted By: JR Submitted: 3/17/2011
A long overdue start of much more to come in reguards to corruption here in Panola County. Too bad our State Attorney General in Jackson didn't step up to the plate when he had the chances to deal with problems here. At least the Feds got around to it.

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