JACKSON – Dr. Carl Reddix faces an Oct. 3 trial on seven federal charges that he bribed former state Corrections chief Christopher Epps to ensure his company provided medical services to the state prison system.
Reddix is the sixth defendant in a kickback-bribery scandal that shook the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Reddix, an OB/GYN physician, is accused of conspiring to get inmate medical service contracts in exchange for bribes and kickbacks to Epps. One charge is conspiracy to commit wire fraud and the other six are related to bribe payments.
The 57-year-old made his initial appearance in federal court on Wednesday and had a $10,000 unsecured bail set by Magistrate Judge Keith Ball. He was not required to enter a plea at the initial hearing.
Ball told Reddix, represented by attorney Lisa Ross, that if he violated any conditions of his bond, he could be arrested and put in jail. Reddix told him he understood.
Reddix’s 13-page indictment, dated July 13 but not unsealed until Wednesday, claims he paid Epps $6,000-$9,500 per month from 2012 until October 2014 in exchange for Epps’ influence to financially benefit Reddix’s company, Health Assurance LLC.
The company contracted with MDOC for medical services at four state prisons – Walnut Grove, East Mississippi, Marshall County and Wilkinson County correctional facilities. The contracts were valued at more than $29 million, the filing states.
Health Assurance began services in 2008 at Walnut Grove and built its contracts through 2013 at Wilkinson County.
If found guilty, Reddix faces lengthy prison time and large fines. He also faces forfeiture of all property and proceeds involved in or traceable to the offenses.
In February, Epps pleaded guilty to his part in the scheme. His sentencing has been repeatedly delayed as federal officials have broadened their probe of the matter.
One co-defendant, Brandon businessman Cecil McCrory, also pleaded guilty to bribing Epps but his attorney has said McCrory plans to withdraw his plea.
Another defendant, Carthage businessman Sam Waggoner, pleaded guilty and faces sentencing. A fourth, former state senator and lobbyist Irb Benjamin, faces trial in October.
A fifth defendant, Harrison County political operative Robert Simmons was a conduit for bribes from Health Assurance to a county supervisor. Simmons pleaded guilty in February to bribing a Harrison County supervisor in exchange for Health Assurance securing the Harrison County jail medical contract. Former Supervisor William Martin killed himself last year, hours before he was due in federal court on bribery charges.
Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca said additional defendants would appear before Ball and Judge Henry T. Wingate on July 25.
Last February, Epps pleaded guilty to separate bribery charges and faces sentencing later this year.