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Prosecutors say medical kickback charges shouldn't be dismissed

OXFORD — Federal prosecutors say the owner of a nursing services company acknowledged paying a hospital executive for “procuring business” and a judge should not dismiss the corruption charges against him.

Earnest Levi Garner Jr. of Batesville was convicted in March on charges including conspiracy and embezzlement related to work at Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville. Raymond Lamont Shoemaker of Tupelo, a former hospital executive, also was convicted in the case.

Both have asked to have the convictions thrown out based on the argument that the evidence didn’t support the convictions.

Prosecutors responded to Garner’s request by saying in court records that he acknowledged paying to get business.

Prosecutors have said Garner paid a kickback of $5 per hour for every hour of nursing services that his companies billed the medical center.

Court records say David Chandler, the former Panola County administrator and chairman of the hospital board, testified that Garner used him to get influence at the hospital.

“While the defendant may not like Chandler’s testimony, Chandler’s testimony, alone, is sufficient to support the verdict,” prosecutors wrote in court records.

Prosecutors say Garner paid Chandler $268,000 as part of the scheme between May 2005 and July 2007. Court records say Chandler acted as a middleman between Shoemaker and Garner.

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