Former hospital administrator Shoemaker pleads not guilty

Ray Shoemaker of Tupelo pleaded not guilty to charges he operated a hospital kickback scheme Tuesday in Oxford.

Shoemaker, 38, and Earnest Levi “Lee” Garner Jr., 66, are accused in an alleged nursing services kickback and bribery scheme at Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville.

Shoemaker’s trial date was set for May 9th and he was represented by attorney Steven Farese.

Monday, attorneys for his Garner Jr. entered a not-guilty plea for him and said he waived his appearance at their arraignment.

Their indictment says the alleged Tri-Lakes scheme occurred between May 2005 and June 2007.

David Chandler, described then as Panola County’s administrator and a Tri-Lakes board president, also is accused but not indicted as being part of their scheme.

The indictment claims Garner, a Panola County businessman, paid Chandler $268,000 in kickbacks and bribes for nursing service hours billed to the hospital by Garner’s business.

In return, Chandler was to use his influence to increase Tri-Lakes’ use of Garner’s business and ensure their bills’ timely payment.

Chandler also is accused of paying Shoemaker $12,000, which was toward a demand for an alleged $25,000 bribe.

More on this story in Wednesday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio