The owner and two executives of Healthmaster pleaded innocent last week in federal court in Augusta, Ga., to charges that they defrauded Medicare out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Jeannette G. Garrison, the Augusta-based company's owner and president; Dennis J. Kelly, vice president and chief financial officer; and David W. Suba, a former Healthmaster employee and president of Managed Risk Services, were each released on $50,000 unsecured bond after their arraignment.
Attorneys also entered innocent pleas on behalf of Healthmaster and two related companies, Master Health Plan, an Augusta HMO, and Managed Risk Services.
A 133-count federal indictment March 8 accused Healthmaster, a statewide home healthcare company, of illegally billing Medicare for $200,000 worth of campaign contributions that were funneled through its employees to top Democratic politicians, including Gov. Zell Miller.
The indictment by a grand jury in Savannah, Ga., also accused company officials of laundering money through dummy corporations. Other allegations included hiring prostitutes to entertain federal auditors who were checking the company's books for Medicare overcharges.
U.S. Magistrate Leon Barfield gave attorneys 20 days to file their first pretrial motions. He restricted the executives' travel to South Carolina and Georgia, but he allowed all three to continue running the businesses.-Associated Press