St. Simons Firm Conspired Guilty Plea Comes amid Medicare Fraud Charges

Article excerpt

BRUNSWICK -- The former vice president of a St. Simons Island

psychiatric firm pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to bill

government health care programs for services never provided.

Michael E. Davidson, 33, pleaded guilty to a single count in

the 166-count federal indictment six days after his father,

Thomas E. Davidson, pleaded guilty to seven of the 156 counts

they faced together.

The elder Davidson had been the chief executive officer of

Shankman/Davidson Psychiatric Management Inc., where his son

oversaw filing claims to Medicare, Medicaid and the Civilian

Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services, an

insurance program for the Defense Department's civilian workers.

The government asserts much of the $5.25 million the company

received in payments between Jan. 1, 1989, and Dec. 1, 1995, was

the result of mail and wire fraud.

Thomas Davidson, 65, co-owned the firm with psychiatrist Andrew

S. Shankman. Shankman, 43, faces 115 counts, including wire and

mail fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and prescribing

narcotics for no legitimate purpose. If convicted, he could be

sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined $1.25 million.

A fourth defendant, chief therapist Mary Jane Pedrick, 50,

could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined $500,000 if

convicted on 90 counts that include conspiracy, and wire and

mail fraud.

Their trial is to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in

Brunswick.

Standing before Senior U.S. District Judge Anthony A. Alaimo

yesterday, Michael Davidson said the company had violated

federal regulations in its billing practices. …