Mississippi doctor begins prison sentence

Published 7:45 am Sunday, May 7, 2023

Dr. Cary Craig Williams has reported to the Federal Prison Camp in Pensacola to begin serving a 43-month sentence after pleading guilty to attempt and conspiracy to commit fraud in a scheme that federal prosecutors cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

The former Oxford podiatrist is the second person to enter a federal prison following guilty pleas in the fraud case. The government prosecuted three doctors – Williams, Marion Shaun Lund and Jared Lee Spicer – and one pharmaceutical company sales rep, former Ole Miss baseball player Hunter Power, in the wide-reaching case.

Lund and Spicer have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Power pled guilty in October 2022 and is currently serving a 25-month sentence.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

At his March 21 sentencing hearing, Williams told the court his actions had resulted in devastating losses for his family and to his health. His attorney requested Williams be allowed to serve his time in Pensacola because of the proximity to his family and because the facility is equipped to house inmates with debilitating medical problems.

In addition to the prison sentence, Williams will be placed on supervised probation upon release and was fined $100 court costs. Restitution costs of $5,560,063.03 were also assessed by District Judge Sharion Aycock.

Ten other counts of conspiracy and attempt to commit fraud in the original indictment were dismissed.  The $5.5M restitution is the responsibility of all four conspirators in the case and must be paid monthly once each is released from prison. The four must pay a minimum of $100 a month, to 10 percent of their monthly income, when employment is secured following their sentences.  Investigators said the scheme defrauded Medicare and TRICARE by prescribing and dispensing medically unnecessary foot bath medications and ordering medically unnecessary testing of toenails in exchange for kickbacks and bribes.

The doctors routinely wrote prescriptions for, and their pharmacies dispensed, antibiotic and antifungal drugs to be mixed into a tub of warm water for patients to soak their feet. Rather than prescribe drugs based on the individualized needs of patients, the doctors prescribed foot bath medications to maximize reimbursements from Medicare, TRICARE and other health care benefit programs, regardless of medical necessity.  In addition, court documents show they took toenail clippings and wound cultures from patients and sent them to a lab for diagnostic testing, even though such testing was not medically necessary.