Monday, December 18, 2006

John Ford Indicted on OmniCare Charges

Posted By on Mon, Dec 18, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Former state senator John Ford was indicted Monday in Nashville on federal charges related to his consulting work for OmniCare Health Plan.

Ford is already under indictment on other federal charges in the Tennessee Waltz investigation for allegedly taking bribes from a phony company set up by the FBI.

The new indictments allege that from 2001-2005 Ford received more than $800,000 in payments from TennCare contractors. OmniCare is a subsidiary of United American Health Care. The other contractor named in the indictment is Doral Dental, a managed care organization that had TennCare's dental services contract.

Ford is charged with two counts of wire fraud and four counts of concealing his business interests in the TennCare contractors. He was chairman of the Senate's General Welfare, Health and Human Resources Committee and a member of the TennCare Oversight Committee.

OmniCare was run by former city of Memphis employees in the administration of Mayor Willie Herenton. The CEO was Osbie Howard, who was finance chairman of Herenton's reelection campaign in 1999. The COO was Stephanie Mebane Dowell, who was Herenton’s administrative assistant.

OmniCare enrolled more than 100,000 uninsured West Tennesseans in its managed care network. The indictment says Doral paid monthly payments to a company called Managed Care Services Group of which Ford was 40 percent owner. Ford also did numerous favors for OmniCare, according to the indictment.

"The facts alleged in this indictment reveal an appalling willingness to violate (his) duty by using his public position for personal gain," said U.S. Attorney Craig Morford.

The Flyer will update this story as developments warrant. — John Branston

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