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Jackson physician in prison health company charged with bribing Epps

A physician associated with a company that provides health care for prisoners has been indicted on charges of bribing former Mississippi Corrections Commissioner Christopher Epps.

Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday that they’re charging Dr. Carl Reddix, 57, with six counts of bribery and one count of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud.

The indictment says Reddix began paying Epps $6,000 in cash monthly in 2012, an amount that rose to $8,000 per month in 2013 after Health Assurance gained an additional contract to provide care at Wilkinson County Correctional Facility. The amounts rose to $9,000 in August and September 2014, concluding with $9,500 in October 2014.

The company eventually was providing health care at four privately-run state prisons — East Mississippi Correctional Facility, Walnut Grove Correctional Facility, Marshall County Correctional Facility and the Wilkinson County prison.

Prosecutors say the contracts at the four prisons were worth $29 million.

Reddix had told The Associated Press by phone Tuesday that he was unsure if he would be indicted and didn’t name his lawyer before hanging up. No lawyer is listed in court papers.

The physician is scheduled to appear Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Ball. If convicted, Reddix faces up to 90 years in prison, as well as $1.75 million in fines.

Corporate records show Reddix was a leader of Health Assurance, a company that provides medical care to state prisons and county jails, until 2015. The indictment describes him as an owner.

Other leaders include Reddix’s brother Dr. Michael Reddix and Charlene Priester, the wife of Hinds County Court Judge Melvin Priester, Sr. Priester himself was listed as an officer until 2015.

Records maintained by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy show Health Assurance show has collected more than $40 million from the state since 2003 and more than $22 million from Harrison, Hancock, Jackson, Pearl River, Rankin and Scott counties since 2004.

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