Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Monday, July 13, 2020

Chalker: Upholding Healthcare Fraud Convictions Over Various Challenges

In United States v. Chalker, No. 18-15102 (July 13, 2020) (Marcus, Wilson, Thapar), the Court affirmed the defendant pharmacist’s healthcare fraud convictions and sentence.

First, the Court found that the evidence was sufficient to support convictions for conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and substantive healthcare fraud.

Second, the Court found that the indictment tracked the language of the statute and otherwise sufficiently informed the defendant of the charges.

Third, the Court found no error in permitting an FBI forensic accountant to testify as a lay witness because he never gave expert testimony, but rather merely summarized bank/wage records.  The Court also found no error in admitting expert testimony where the government disclosed the substance of the testimony before trial, but swapped out a new expert for the original expert, as there was no showing of prejudice.

Fourth, the Court found no abuse of discretion in denying the defendant’s motion to continue the trial based on defense counsel’s time to prepare and the expert swap.  The Court concluded that there was not enough to show prejudice.

Fifth, the Court found no clear error at sentencing in the loss calculation.  The defendant arguably waived that issue at sentencing.  And, in any event, the trial testimony supported the finding.