Signs of $14.7 Million Medicare Fraud from Mountain Home Doctor Date Back for Years

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

In his letter to Cogburn, Johnson blamed his financial troubles on his ex-wife, who he said used his money “to build her ostentatious lake house, and left me and my Practice in heavy debt. I will soon need to go on public relief or get a job at McDonalds; is this something you want to see happen to a fellow physician?”

Cynthia Johnson said that after he lost his license, her ex-husband didn’t take care of himself, smoking and eating too much.

And investigators were closing in.

Federal agents were pursuing criminal charges for wire and health care fraud and a civil forfeiture of assets, Special Agent Kowalski said in his affidavit.

One person close to the case who asked not to be named said a federal grand jury had been called and Dr. Johnson was likely to be indicted.

But that didn’t happen. On March 5, he died of natural causes.

Since Then ...

2014: As of March 18, there haven’t been any new developments in the case of Dr. Stacey Johnson, according to Joyce Snow, a spokeswoman for Conner Eldridge, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas.

Eldridge told Arkansas Business in October that recovering more assets was “an ongoing effort” and the case was “an ongoing investigation.”

The article was a huge hit with readers and became Arkansas Business’ most-read story online in 2013.

The article also highlighted the increased use of federal forfeiture civil lawsuits, a trend that was the subject of Arkansas Business reporting a few months before this story appeared.

Law enforcement officials maintain that seizing property and then filing a civil asset forfeiture lawsuit to keep it helps return the property to victims. And by moving the property quickly through a civil procedure rather than waiting for criminal charges, police officials can prevent the property from being sold, damaged or spent.

The problem with the seizures, critics say, is that the federal government is taking property from people who haven’t been charged with a crime, much less convicted.



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