3rd person charged in medical kickback case

Published 1:29 pm Friday, October 14, 2011

A third person has pleaded not guilty to charges related to an alleged kickback scheme at Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Panola County.

 Robert S. Corkern entered the plea Tuesday in federal court in Aberdeen. He was released on $40,000 bond.

Corkern is charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., three counts of loan and credit application fraud, and one count of bribery involving federal programs.

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Corkern will face trial Dec. 12 with co-defendants Raymond L. Shoemaker, a Tupelo health care executive, and Earnest Levi “Lee” Garner Jr., a Batesville businessman. They each pleaded not guilty several months ago and are free on bond.

Federal prosecutors have alleged David Chandler, the former county administrator, acted as a middleman for the kickbacks. Chandler has not been indicted. 

The government alleges Garner paid Chandler $268,000 for nursing service hours billed to the hospital by Garner’s business. In return, prosecutors say Chandler was to use his influence to increase Tri-Lakes’ use of Garner’s business.  

Prosecutors said Chandler also paid Shoemaker $12,000, which was toward a demand for an alleged $25,000 bribe.