By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Batesville physician Robert S. Corkern pleaded guilty today to bribing then-Panola County Administrator David Chandler with $25,000.
The 51-year-old emergency room doctor appeared before Senior U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. in Oxford.
In taking the plea deal, Corkern avoids trial with two co-defendants, Raymond Shoemaker of Tupelo, a health care executive, and Lee Garner, a Batesville businessman, who were indicted Feb. 24.
Corkern’s name went on a new indictment in September.
All three were accused of varying roles with a multi-million-dollar health care kickback and bribery scheme generally focussed on delivery of nursing services to Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville.
In the indictment, Corkern was accused of one count of fraud, one count of using public money for his own purposes and three counts of making false statements on loan applications.
If convicted on all five charges, he faced up to 105 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines.
Shoemaker and Garner are due to go on trial in Oxford on Feb. 21.
For details, read Tuesday’s NEMS Daily Journal.