Thurbert E. Baker, Attorney General, State of Georgia; Richard H. Dean, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; Russell Hinton, State Auditor, State of Georgia; Russ Toal, Commissioner, Georgia Department of Community Health; Theodore Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Milton E. Nix, Director, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, announce that a federal jury has found Marshall Newsome, 48, of Riverdale, Georgia, guilty on all federal charges of conspiracy to defraud Medicaid, mail fraud, conspiracy to money launder and money laundering.

On June 29, 1999, a federal Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Newsome and his stepson, Jerry Newsome, 34, of Conyers, Georgia, with those charges. Jerry Newsome pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to defraud Medicaid and conspiracy to money launder on August 23, 2000.

According to that indictment, from about September, 1994, to around September, 1997, Newsome, who is the coroner of Clayton County, Georgia, owned and operated “Marshall Newsome NET, Inc.,” with offices in Jonesboro, Georgia, later to move to Riverdale, Georgia, as a provider of Non-Emergency Transportation (NET) services. As a NET provider in the Georgia Medicaid program, under federal and state law, Newsome was required to provide complete and accurate accounts of non-emergency transportation services provided to Medicaid recipients, in accordance with the State of Georgia Medicaid program, a state health care program, which, with the joint funding of state and U. S. Department of Health and Human Services funds, reimburses health care providers for goods and services provided to needy families and individuals. The Georgia Department of Medical Assistance administered the reimbursement funds to NET providers who transport Medicaid recipients to medical appointments. According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, Newsome and his company repeatedly made and submitted false claims of NET services with grossly inflated mileage and, in some cases, billed Medicaid for trips that never happened. According to the indictment and testimony at trial, the fraudulent billing amounted to more than $15,000,000; Newsome laundered more than $3 million through a series of illegal transactions through separate bank accounts, and Newsome used some of the ill-gotten gains to purchase a home in Ontario, Canada, and buy property and build a home in Mississippi, as well as use the ill-gotten gains to establish and maintain other businesses.

Evidence at trial also established that Newsome and his company had billed the accounts of 68 Medicaid recipients numerous times for services rendered before they were even born, and Newsome and his company also had billed numerous times the accounts of another 141 Medicaid recipients who had already been dead.

The trial in this case began September 11, 2000. The jury deliberated for approximately 3½ hours before delivering its verdict.

The same jury will decide on the forfeiture of money and property as the result of ill-gotten gains from the scheme. The forfeiture hearing is set for Monday, September 18, 2000, at 9:30 a.m. No sentencing date has yet been set before United States Judge Willis B. Hunt, Jr., who is presiding over the trial and forfeiture hearing.

The case was investigated by the State Health Care Fraud Control Unit and Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Russell Vineyard and Georgia Assistant Attorney General Harrison Kohler, designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuted the case.