Though it multiplied the stress in my life, my abrupt departure from CCA proved a blessing in disguise. Not only was I now available to help with the investigation, my lack of employment allowed me to infiltrate Columbia/HCA with the FBI's blessing, further assisting the government's investigation.
I quickly told former colleagues that I was now a self-employed healthcare consultant and sent out resumes to numerous healthcare companies. Within days, several former Columbia/HCA colleagues contacted me with news of job openings with the reimbursement office in Winter Park. Stephen Meagher quickly saw how my employment there could boost my case. Agent Joe Ford agreed that my becoming an insider would help his investigation immensely. Soon, I had a phone interview scheduled for a reimbursement coordinator position with Robin Gaffney, Columbia/ HCA's reimbursement reporting manager in Winter Park. Ford wanted me to surreptitiously record the interview from his office.
On December 17, I drove to the FBI office to begin my stint of undercover work for Ford. To protect my anonymity, he asked me to use the alias “John Smith” when I signed in at the reception desk. More cloak and dagger precautions, I thought. He escorted me through the security door to the conference room. There on the table was a common cassette tape recorder with a small black wire leading from the recorder to a suction cup. So much for high-tech surveillance equipment! Where's MI6's Q when I need him? I thought. The recorder didn't look very complex or difficult to