A state court judge in Alabama last week sentenced the former chief executive officer of a public hospital to three years in prison as part of a 15-year sentence for embezzling money from the facility.
The April 20 sentencing by Henry County Acting Circuit Court Judge Charles Woodham follows the conviction last month of Jim Blackmon, who was charged with stealing $376,345 from 347-bed Southeast Alabama Medical Center in Dothan.
In 1985 Blackmon was named administrator of the hospital, a title that was later changed to CEO. He held that position until 1996 when he resigned.
Blackmon claimed that heavy drinking impaired his judgment and caused his troubles. After he is released from prison, he must complete a mandatory substance abuse program and serve five years of probation. If he violates probation, he may have to serve the rest of the 15-year sentence.
Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, who prosecuted the case, said, "I'm pleased that the court gave him a stiff prison sentence."
A 1997 state audit revealed that nearly $1 million had been mishandled between 1992 and 1995. That included the $376,345 paid illegally to Blackmon without board approval. He masked his trail with a stream of false receipts.
Blackmon claimed he spent much of the money on illegal campaign contributions to politicians in Alabama and Georgia.
In March, the jury acquitted Blackmon's co-defendant, William Lupinacci, M.D., of helping Blackmon. Lupinacci no longer works at the hospital, but he was medical director of its industrial health network.