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Former WellCare Execs Found Guilty

Tampa Bay Times

Just when it seemed the trial against four former WellCare Health Plans executives might never end, the jury on Monday returned a verdict that found each of them guilty on at least some of the charges, the Tampa Bay Times reports. 

Former CEO Todd Farha, CFO Paul Behrens, and VP William Kale were each found guilty on two counts of submitting false reports to the Florida Medicaid program. Former VP Peter E. Clay was found guilty of making false statements to federal agents.

Each of the four was found not guilty on some of the charges for which they were originally indicted in March 2011. U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. declared a mistrial for some charges on which jurors failed to reach agreement.

The trial lasted more than three months,  and the jury deliberations took more than three weeks. Two jurors were moved to alternate status for falling asleep during testimony, which dealt with arcane matters of health-care financing and accounting.

The former executives were accused of creating a mental-health subsidiary that served as a kind of slush fund to make it appear the company was spending more for the care of its members than it actually was.

The charade took place between 2003 and 2007, according to officials. The company itself was first to be charged in the case. As Health News Florida reported in February 2012, it settled federal charges for $137.5 million.


--Health News Florida is part of WUSF Public Media. Contact Carol Gentry at 813-974-8629 (desk) or e-mail at cgentry@wusf.org. For more health news, visit HealthNewsFlorida.org.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.After serving two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Colombia, Gentry worked for a number of newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, St. Petersburg Times (now Tampa Bay Times), the Tampa Tribune and Orlando Sentinel. She was a Kaiser Foundation Media Fellow in 1994-95 and earned an Master's in Public Administration at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government in 1996. She directed a journalism fellowship program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for four years.Gentry created Health News Florida, an independent non-profit health journalism publication, in 2006, and served as editor until September, 2014, when she became a special correspondent. She and Health News Florida joined WUSF in 2012.
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