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April 23, 2013 7:34 am

Judge lets suit against Cardwell proceed

Written by CJ Baker

Former Powell Valley Healthcare CEO and current fugitive Paul Cardwell remains nowhere to be found, but his attorneys still must defend him, a judge reiterated last week.

Cardwell is being prosecuted and sued for allegedly defrauding Powell Valley Healthcare out of nearly $848,000 between March and September 2011.

He retained attorneys Robert W. York of Indiana and Robert W. Horn of Jackson in early 2012 to defend him. Cardwell reportedly told his attorneys he would take a plea deal, but dropped off the map in August 2012, shortly before he was set to finalize the deal.

A warrant is out for Cardwell’s arrest, but in the meantime, Powell Valley Healthcare’s management firm continues to pursue a civil suit against him.

Horn and York have unsuccessfully tried to get out of representing their absentee client in the case brought by HealthTech Management Services. Earlier this month, they asked for a delay. Horn and York said U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Carman should require HealthTech to prove Cardwell fled before letting the case proceed.

“None of Cardwell’s attorneys know his current whereabouts nor a telephone number where he may be reached; Cardwell has not communicated with any of his counsel by telephone or email, or by way of others; said counsel does not know whether Cardwell remains among the living; and said counsel does not know whether Cardwell is being held captive by others or is otherwise in a physical or mental state which prohibits him from contacting his counsel,” the attorneys wrote. Horn and York said while you could suppose Cardwell is a “knowing and voluntary fugitive from justice,” nothing establishes that as a fact.

HealthTech objected, saying, in part, that the law doesn’t require them to prove Cardwell went on the lam. Further, the fact that Cardwell disappeared just before facing a change of plea hearing provides “strong circumstantial evidence,” offered HealthTech attorney Bradley Cave of Cheyenne.

“Paul Cardwell’s whereabouts appear to be a mystery to all but him,” Cave added.

Magistrate Carman sided with HealthTech.

“While it is conceivable that unique circumstances may be preventing Mr. Cardwell’s participation,” the circumstances indicate he’s trying to avoid criminal prosecution or a civil judgment, Carman wrote.

The case remains on track for a June 24 trial before Judge Nancy D. Freudenthal in Cheyenne.

Michael J. Plake of West LaFayette, Ind., helped Cardwell swindle the money from Powell Valley Healthcare, letting Cardwell pretend he was an employee recruiter.

The two men are alleged to have run the same scheme from 2003 to 2009, when Cardwell was CEO of an Indiana hospital. They reportedly took in more than $800,000 there.

Plake is set to be sentenced on May 6 in Cheyenne. He’s also a defendant in HealthTech’s suit. HealthTech plans to take testimony from Cardwell’s family and Plake at depositions this week in Indiana.

Powell Valley Healthcare has said it’s recovered the losses inflicted by Cardwell and Plake from HealthTech and insurers.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link May 01, 2013 11:55 am posted by John Clark

    The lawyers should submit a guilty plea.

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