Third defendant added to North MS health care fraud case

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

ABERDEEN – Robert S. Corkern is the latest defendant to face federal charges alleging a multi-million-dollar health care fraud in North Mississippi.

Tuesday, Corkern pleaded not guilty to four counts and remains free on $40,000 bond.

The indictment against him wasn’t publicly posted, but new details on the U.S. District Court of Northern Mississippi website show he is accused of conspiracy to defraud the U.S., three counts of loan and credit application fraud, and one count of bribery involving federal programs.

Corkern will face trial Dec. 12 in Oxford with co-defendants Raymond L. Shoemaker, a Tupelo health care executive, and Earnest Levi “Lee” Garner Jr., a Batesville businessman.

Shoemaker and Garner, who declined to appear in federal court Tuesday, face no additional charges in the new indictment.

They each pleaded not guilty several months ago and are free on bond.

They are accused in a scheme allegedly committed while Shoemaker was chief executive officer of Tri-Lakes Medical Center in Batesville. He also is accused of embezzlement from Humphreys County Hospital while he was administrator.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office did not respond to Daily Journal calls about who Corkern is or how he is allegedly involved with the accusations.

An Internet search for Robert Corkern shows that last March, a Dr. Robert S. Corkern surrendered his license to prescribe narcotics and controlled substances, the Batesville newspaper, The Panolian, reported.

The newspaper also reported that Corkern’s Batesville office was searched by local law enforcement and the Mississippi State Medical Licensure Board.

• For more details, read Wednesday’s Daily Journal.