Republican State Legislator Turns Himself In Over 14 Charges Of Defrauding Medicare

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If you’re interested in stories of Republicans serving as good, upstanding models of ethical behavior, the Trump era in the United States is not for you. There’s now yet another story available of a Republican political leader facing serious charges for serious crimes.

The story of Alabama state lawmaker and member of the Republican Party Ed Henry is a mess. He is heading out of the legislature later this year after having served for some eight years, but he’s not making it out without first facing accountability for corruption that he carried on with while on the job. The corruption was not directly related to his work as a legislator, but it did unfold while he was in office.

Authorities have hit Henry with 14 indictments covering an array of actions he allegedly undertook as a part of a scheme to defraud Medicare. The scheme revolved around a company of Henry’s meant to provide support for individuals suffering from two or more chronic illnesses. According to the charges against him, he entered into a corrupt agreement via his company, MyPractice24, with Dr. Gilberto Sanchez’s Family Practice clinic.

Sanchez and others who worked with him have already been nabbed on charges related to the operation of what’s been called a pill mill. Sanchez was arrested over those charges and pleaded guilty.

The doctor’s scheme with Henry involved the practice getting a kickback for referring patients to the legislator’s business. Those kickbacks included direct transfers of money and free clinical services, and at one point, Henry went so far as to “install a contractor” at the disgraced doctor’s office whose job it was to oversee referrals.

In addition to that, Henry’s business filed claims with Medicare seeking reimbursement but falsified information on those claims in an effort to get more money out of the government. The business claimed to have collected copayments from patients when they in fact had not, which allowed them to be reimbursed with more money than they would have been given otherwise.

Henry responded to the charges against him in a post to his Facebook page, phrasing the ordeal in familiar right wing apocalyptic terms and acting as though the case is an example of draconian government overreach.

He wrote:

‘For the last 8 years I have fought the government from further encroachment on our Freedoms. Today began my fight with the Federal Government for my freedom… I am not guilty of any crimes.’

Throughout his time in office that he mentions, Henry has proven combative, having recently led efforts to impeach the now former Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. He eventually resigned in the face of campaign finance law violations.

He at one point announced a run for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by Democrat Doug Jones, but out of opposition to the leading establishment candidate in the primary race, Luther Strange, who served at one point as the state’s attorney general, he bowed out. He eventually supported Republican nominee for the seat and credibly accused sexual predator Roy Moore.

In light of that, and the fact that Henry was hardly the only leading figure to support Moore — the president himself did — this new scandal involving the soon to be former state rep. is the latest in a long line of Republican improprieties.

Featured Image via BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

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