Cardwell accepted the settlement in connection with defrauding Powell Valley Healthcare out of $847,844 while its CEO between February and September 2011.
Neil Todhunter, director of HealthTech Management Services, shared his doubts of recovering the multi-million dollar settlement from Cardwell in a discussion with Powell Valley Healthcare board members Monday evening. HealthTech provides management for Powell Valley Healthcare and technically was Cardwell’s employer.
During Monday’s board meeting at Powell Valley Hospital, Dr. Michael Tracy said medical staff have asked whether Powell Valley Healthcare will get any share of that settlement.
Todhunter said HealthTech is beginning the process to determine what resources Cardwell might have that could be garnered to pay the settlement.
“If he has any (assets), they’re out of the country,” most likely in Thailand, he said.
Cardwell was arrested in Thailand in June after fleeing the United States in July 2012 to avoid prosecution.
HealthTech’s chief goal now is to recover its out-of-pocket costs in attorney and court fees and other costs associated with Cardwell’s actions, Todhunter said.
“For us, that’s right around $700,000. To be honest, we don’t expect to see any of that,” he said. “We think that the likelihood of any of us getting any kind of a recovery is about 5 percent or less. If there is any, and it’s beyond that, we’ll be happy to share.”
A West Lafayette, Ind., resident, Michael Plake, agreed to pay a $2 million settlement to HealthTech for helping Cardwell embezzle the money from Powell Valley Healthcare; the scheme involved Plake posing as a medical recruiter.
Plake was actually pocketing 25 percent of the recruiting money from Powell Valley Healthcare and kicking back the other 75 percent to Cardwell.
Todhunter said HealthTech’s overarching concern has been to make sure that Powell Valley Healthcare was reimbursed for the losses it suffered through Cardwell’s actions.
“I believe that has happened,” he said.
Powell Valley Healthcare recovered its losses through two insurance policies and a February payment of an unspecified amount by HealthTech. Combined, the organization received a total of $1.15 million as reimbursement for the money taken by Cardwell and Plake, as well attorney fees, Cardwell’s wages and other associated costs.
On the criminal side of things, Cardwell pleaded guilty on Oct. 2 to three felony charges for defrauding Powell Valley Healthcare out of the $847,844 in 2011, and roughly the same amount from a Monticello, Ind., hospital between 2003 and 2009. As part of an undisclosed deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he entered guilty pleas to counts of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
Todhunter noted that U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Freudenthal hasn’t signed off on Cardwell’s plea agreement yet. He said HealthTech’s attorneys are challenging some aspects of the deal, specifically the amount of prison time Cardwell would serve.
“We think the timeframe agreed in the settlement is much too short of a time (for Cardwell to serve in prison),” he said. “We think they will add another 30 months on top of that.”
Todhunter said he didn’t have the sentencing agreement with him and couldn’t specify what its terms were.
Todhunter noted Freudenthal also was the judge who previously sentenced Plake.
After hearing statements from Plake and several of his family members during a May hearing, Freudenthal sentenced Plake to 30 months in prison for his role in the scam.
Given that example, “I think she’s going to jump on him (Cardwell) with both feet,” Todhunter said.
PVHC Board President Dr. Mark Wurzel instructed board members to write their recollections of lies and deceptions by Cardwell that they witnessed while he was chief executive officer at Powell Valley Healthcare. Those will be compiled for victim impact statements for the sentencing, he said.
Cardwell’s sentencing hearing was rescheduled Tuesday. Formerly set for Dec. 23, Judge Freudenthal moved the sentencing to Jan. 27 in federal court in Cheyenne.