A long-term con by a gang of conspirators impersonating the Cerner Corporation has seen another verdict come down.
Albert Davis, 56, of Richardson, Texas, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Greg Kays to participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud. That's the fifth guilty plea in the scheme, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Tammy Dickinson has announced in a statement
He faces a maximum of 20 years behind bars without parole, a $250,000 fine and restitution, according to the Kansas City Business Journal
The longstanding con began in August 2008 and was active until February 2015, according to the Kansas City Star Telegram
Davis admitted that he led the conspiracy that included 4 others previously convicted, which led to losses by victims topping $9.5 million.
His codefendants David Hernon, 55, of Fishers, Ind. (formerly of Richardson, Texas), David Tayce, 67, of Lucas, Texas, and Richard Bryant, 41, and his wife, Christina Bryant, 41, both of Sachse, Texas, have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy.
The elaborate scheme involved creation of a fake Cerner business entity for a similarly-named company, Cerner LLC, plus a fake bank account, Internet domain and a virtual office space in Kansas City, Mo.
They also made up fake employees – some of which were actually impersonating real Cerner Corp. workers.
They made up fake documents, price quotes, and invoices as well.
“For example, conspirators sent e-mails to doctors at Summit Medical Center in Oklahoma, which falsely represented Cerner Corp. in negotiations by containing a quote for the sale of a MR to Summit Medical Center. Conspirators also created fraudulent invoices for the sale of an MR to Dallas Medical Center,” the Justice statement noted.
Davis also admitted that conspirators provided false and misleading information and testimony during the litigation of several lawsuits. The false and misleading testimony was regarding business deals where the conspirators had impersonated Cerner Corporation.
The scheme began to unravel, according to the initial complaint against Davis in 2009, as reported by Kansas City Infozine
, after Davis allegedly convinced the Dallas Medical Center and Prime Health Care (which bought the center mid-fraud) to send wire payments to the fake bank account worth $1,061,550 for an MR machine.
“As soon as Cerner employees became aware of this incident, they immediately notified representatives at the hospital and contacted law enforcement to provide information central to the investigation and prosecution of this case,” Dickinson said.
In the course of their scheming, Davis and his cronies pretended to be Cerner employees, physicians, investors and others to rope people into their bogus dealings, the Justice documents state.
“For example, conspirators forged signatures and misled doctors into guaranteeing over $8 million in loans from Community Trust Bank in Texas. Davis admitted that he and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained five individual loans from Community Trust Bank,” stated the Justice Department.
Beyond that they also “impersonated bondholders in order to file an involuntary bankruptcy petition against their own company, CMI Holding Company, in the Northern District of Texas – and kept up the pretense “throughout the litigation in phone calls and email communications, and by signing as the bondholders in a settlement agreement.”
That hustle reaped them a $1.8 million settlement of the involuntary bankruptcy.
The real Cerner Corp. is a major player in the health care space. In July, it made news when it bumped up its $50 million estimate on data center costs to about $75 million, as HCB News reported
at the time.
The Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization (DHMSM) is presently set to cost $4.3 billion – so it's a relatively small bump up.
Beyond that, DoD spokesperson David Norley noted that the additional funds will go to better data access and keep up with a boost in data demands – and won't push the Cerner and Leidos deal beyond its $4.3 billion cap, which was set when it was signed last July.
On a DHMSM call in early July a spokesperson stressed, "when we're talking about clinical data, that availability can be the difference between life and death," adding that the cost of Cerner was “significantly higher” than early estimates, but it will still be “within 10 percent” of what it would have run, had the hosting been performed by the Defense Information Systems Agency.