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July 02, 2013 7:44 am

Cardwell denied release, is being sent to Wyoming

Written by CJ Baker

A federal magistrate in San Francisco declined to release former hospital CEO Paul Cardwell last week to let him make his own way back to Wyoming. Instead, Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler chose to keep Cardwell in federal custody and entrust the transportation arrangements to the U.S. Marshals Services.

Cardwell, 47, stands accused of using a fraudulent billing scheme to embezzle nearly $848,000 from Powell Valley Healthcare between March and September 2011; he’s also alleged to have done the same thing while CEO of an Indiana hospital years earlier.

Cardwell went missing last August, shortly before he was expected to accept a plea deal to resolve the fraud allegations. He was arrested in Thailand in early June as part of a cooperative effort by the United States’ Homeland Security Investigations and Royal Thai Tourist Police.

The FBI brought Cardwell back to the U.S. last Wednesday and he appeared in federal court in the Northern District of California on Thursday.

After waiving his right to fight extradition, “Cardwell through his counsel asked consideration be given to allowing him to return to Wyoming at his own expense,” said Josh Eaton, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco.

Eaton said his office argued against Cardwell’s request, noting Cardwell violated his pretrial release conditions before by fleeing to Thailand and arguing “there was no assurance he would return to Wyoming.”

Eaton said the assistant prosecutor also noted the arrest warrant issued by Wyoming District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal asks for Cardwell to be detained without bail.

After hearing the arguments, Magistrate Beeler denied Cardwell’s request to be released.

Cardwell faces 15 felony charges in Wyoming — to which he’s pleaded not guilty — plus another one in Indiana.

The federal public defender who assisted Cardwell in San Francisco did not immediately return a Tribune email seeking more information about Cardwell’s request for release.

It’s isn’t clear when Cardwell will be back in Wyoming.

“We were told that we could expect it would take about two weeks for the marshals’ system to have him in Cheyenne,” said John Powell, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cheyenne.

Minutes of last week’s proceedings say Cardwell is taking medication used for treating depression or generalized anxiety disorder.

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