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Court docket shows change of plea hearing set for Wednesday
Court records indicate a significant twist in federal prosecutors' case against local podiatrist Dr. James Naples.
According to Friday's docket of the Texarkana, Texas division of the Eastern District of Texas, there is a notice of a change of plea hearing set for 10 a.m. on Wednesday before U.S. District Judge David Folsom.
Naples, of Texarkana, Texas, pleaded innocent on Oct. 12 to 140 federal counts ranging from racketeering, conspiracy to obstruct justice, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, health care fraud, money laundering and false claims.
There are major developments in the case against a Texarkana doctor.
Doctor James Naples was set to go on trial in April of next year...but instead of facing a jury he accepted a plea agreement.
Naples has been at the center of a two year long federal investigation for alleged health care fraud.
Earlier this year prosecutors indicted Naples and several other podiatrists on several counts including fraud, money laundering, and obstructing justice.
That indictment was eventually dropped...and then brought back again...this time with more charges.
Podiatrist to pay $2 million; prosecutors to ax indictment
Texarkana, Texas, foot doctor James Naples pleaded guilty Wednesday to a federal conspiracy charge and now awaits sentencing after promising to pay $2 million in restitution.
The charge, which was in the form of a felony information-not indictment-carries as much as a five-year prison sentence and fines as much as $250,000. But federal prosecutors are recommending probation.
Naples will be sentenced in 60 to 90 days, after a presentence investigation is complete.
Naples, 56, admitted to obtaining and withholding the passenger manifests, or logs, of one of his King Air planes that was subpoenaed by the federal grand jury that had been investigating him....
The Texas licensing board for podiatrists has forged an agreement with Dr. James Naples to suspend his license for three months.
Naples was under federal scrutiny for years and last year pleaded guilty to an obstruction of justice charge regarding his plane’s flight logs, which the government wanted as part of an investigation into alleged Medicaid violations. He was sentenced to two years’ probation by U.S. District Judge David Folsom.
According to the Texas State Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners, the Feb. 4 agreement order, signed by Naples, ordered him to pay a $75,000 fine. His Texas license, in theory, is suspended for 14 months. However, as part of the agreement Naples reached with the board, his Texas license was suspended for three months beginning Feb. 4 and the remaining 11 months will be a probationary period.
Naples’ Arkansas license is intact.
Craig Henry, Naples’ lawyer, said there were no violations of health care found by the Texas board. He also criticized that board’s investigator.
“The local agent for the FBI and the investigator for the Podiatry Board were kindred spirits,” Henry said.
According to the order, during Naples’ three-month suspension, he may not deliver podiatric care in Texas, but he may keep his office open for “the purposes of arranging referrals, handling mail, processing accounts, billing and insurance matters and other similar matters not directly related to the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Dr. Naples shall not offer and shall not accept to consult with, diagnose or treat a patient.”
While he can share office space with other foot doctors, Naples cannot consult with them about patients in Texas.
He also agreed to have unannounced or surprise visits by board investigators to ensure that he is complying with the terms of the licensing agreement.
He also agreed to have anannounced or surprise visits by board investigators to ensure that he is complying with the terms of the licensing agreement
The Texarkana Gazette are reporting: Doctor’s probation shortened
Saturday, November 11, 2006 12:34 PM CST
Dr. James Naples’ request for his probation to be shortened has been granted by a district judge.
Naples, a Texarkana podiatrist who was convicted of a federal felony, was given two years of probation for obstruction of justice.
Naples went on probation on April 26, 2005, following his guilty plea. The charge was related to airplane logs that were withheld as part of a federal probe into Naples’ business practices.
Naples’ lawyer, David Botsford, filed a motion seeking to reduce the probation on the basis that he has fulfilled his requirements, going beyond the 250 required hours of community service. A hearing was held Sept. 22 before U.S. District Judge David Folsom.
In his motion, his lawyer argued that Naples has faithfully complied with the terms of his probation.
According to district court documents, Folsom considered sentencing factors as well as factors used by the probation office including stable community reintegration, no history of violence, no recent evidence of alcohol or drug abuse and no identifiable risk to public safety.
According to the documents, “while the court recognizes that defendant may have played an aggravated role in the offense, all of the other factors considered by the court weigh in favor of terminating defendant’s probation. The court finds that defendant has complied with all conditions of supervised release and presents no threat to society.”
Also, according to court documents, prosecutors were originally willing to agree to a one-year term of probation, but the probation office later recommended two years.
Naple’s probation was scheduled to end on April 26, 2007.
Sometimes we're still amazed at what a simple Google search turns up.
Early last year, we wrote a Whisper about the On Deck batting cage in Fayetteville being for sale after owner Chuck Calloway filed for bankruptcy protection listing debts of $1.9 million.
Former Razorback and St. Louis Cardinal Tom Pagnozzi, who owns a batting cage business in Arizona and looked into On Deck, told us the asking price was out-of-whack at around $2.1 million.
We noticed some construction recently and decided to see what was going on.
Turns out in May, Calloway turned the business over to ANB Financial NA with a quit-claim deed. In September, ANB sold the 18,300-SF building on 1.4 acres to Pinewood Healthcare Realty LP for the bargain price of $375,000.
The fact ANB sold an asset with an appraised value of $1.2 million is certainly noteworthy given the bank's nonperforming and past due loans of more than $145 million, but it wasn't the most interesting twist by far.
Checking out Pinewood on the Arkansas Secretary of State Web site revealed the registered agent is one James Naples, a podiatrist from Texarkana.
Nothing interesting there, until running his name through Google turned up a scathing 2004 federal indictment of Naples, five other podiatrists and his nurse in Texarkana charging them under RICO, the racketeering statutes usually reserved for the mafia and drug cartels.
According to the indictment, Naples and company were systematically defrauding Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers of millions through overcharging, fake billings and procedures they allowed residents to perform outside of any supervision.
Not only that, Naples was treating cancer patients - and billing insurers for the service - with a debunked procedure involving a Category V poison used in pesticides that was banned by the Food and Drug Administration in the 1930s.
Noting that, "as a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, Naples is unqualified to treat cancer patients because it is beyond the scope of his training and license," the group was charged with mail fraud, wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
In particular, Naples and two others were charged with conspiring to obstruct the investigation by means of bribery, falsifying or concealing documents, resisting Grand Jury subpoenas, intimidating witnesses and perjury.
"The defendants in this case callously preyed on vulnerable cancer patients," Dana Corrigan of the Dept. of Heath and Human Services said in the indictment. "They showed little regard for patient safety, and instead focused on illegally maximizing their reimbursement from the Medicare program. After their scheme became known, these defendants brazenly obstructed a federal investigation."
On Dec. 22, 2004, Naples pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in exchange for the rest of the racketeering charges being dropped. He was sentenced to two years probation, ordered to pay $2 million in restitution and banned from Medicare/Medicaid for 10 years.
The rest of the defendants entered into plea arrangements as well, and as a side note, an unindicted co-conspirator in the case was Nicholas Bachynsky, who was imprisoned from 1989 to 1997 for defrauding insurers of between $15 million and $37 million. He was also stripped of his medical licenses for performing the same unapproved cancer treatment Naples later would.
In 2003, Bachynsky was charged with aggravated voluntary manslaughter in Italy when four patients he was treating died. He was on the run until being arrested in Florida in 2004, where he is still in the Miami federal prison on 40 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud.
Naples bought Vista Health, a 12-bed psychiatric care facility, in Fayetteville in 2000 for $3.9 million. A 2003 article in the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal on mental health noted that the facility doesn't accept Medicaid. Considering Naples was under investigation for six years, now we know why.
Calls to Naples in Texarkana went to an answering service and an operator who told us Naples' office is closed. No one from Architectural Construction Inc. of Springdale, who is doing the work at On Deck, ever called us back to let us know what the project entails.