An Amarillo orthodontist sentenced last year to serve more than four years in prison for health care fraud has asked a judge to permit him to withdraw his guilty plea, alleging an Indiana attorney stole more than $380,000 from him and coerced him to plead guilty to cover up the alleged theft.
Last year, Michael David Goodwin, 65, pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud. In April 2013, he was sentenced to serve a 50-month federal prison term and was ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution for defrauding the Texas Medicaid program.
Goodwin also was ordered to forfeit $1.5 million — gross proceeds traceable to the offense — and more than $244,000 the government seized in 2001 from his JP Morgan Chase accounts.
Goodwin frequently had employees schedule more than 100 patients per day and set appointments for large numbers of Medicaid recipients on days when he was out of town, a practice patients and employees referred to as “herding cattle,” according to federal court records.
Goodwin, acting as his own attorney, recently sent a series of motions to an Amarillo federal magistrate judge, alleging Clark Holesinger, an Indiana attorney who represented him, had a conflict of interest in the case because he allegedly stole money from Goodwin and his business, Amarillo Orthodontics.
“As a result of counsel Holesinger’s priority being to prevent discovery of the embezzlement, it was not possible for him to provide defendant effective assistance,” Goodwin wrote in his legal pleadings.
“Counsel knew that if defendant went to trial, it would be likely that his embezzlement and theft of funds would become widely known.”
Goodwin alleges in his ineffective assistance of counsel claims that Holesinger and government attorneys withheld information crucial to his defense and that Holesinger pressured him to plead guilty to avoid having the government prosecute Goodwin’s wife and an office manager.
As part of Goodwin’s plea, federal indictments against Patricia Goodwin, Goodwin’s wife, and a Goodwin Orthodontics office manager in the Medicaid fraud case were dismissed.
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Government attorneys are challenging Goodwin’s claims and note that he pleaded guilty to the charge. The government also questioned Goodwin’s claims that Holesinger told him that he could not afford a costly defense.
“First, Goodwin did plead guilty and no part of the theft was covered up. Goodwin never explains how the advice to plead guilty could have covered anything up,” government attorneys wrote in their motion.
Brian T. Gensel, a prosecuting attorney in Porter County, Ind., wrote in a letter that Holesinger has been charged with theft for allegedly stealing funds from clients there. Gensel’s letter said Holesinger has resigned his law license “as a result of his inability to refute the theft allegations.”
“Based on information gleaned from the ongoing investigation involving other client victims, it is my belief that attorney Holesinger stole approximately $380,000 from Dr. Michael Goodwin and his wife Patricia Goodwin,” Gensel wrote.
In March, Holesinger, who has been charged with multiple counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $1.6 million from clients, resigned from the Indiana State Bar. Holesinger, 52, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Gensel said Tuesday that Holesinger has not been charged with stealing from Goodwin, but said the investigation is ongoing and that Holesinger could face theft charges for allegedly stealing funds from Goodwin.
A call seeking comment from Holesinger’s criminal attorney, Thomas Vanes of Indiana, was not immediately returned.
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A Valparaiso attorney already charged in Porter County with stealing more than $2 million from his clients, including a disabled child, has worked out a deal to plead guilty to federal charges in the same case.
In return, federal attorneys are making a binding recommendation that Clark Holesinger, 53, serve 10 years in prison, according to a plea deal filed Friday in the U.S. District Court in South Bend, the same day the information was also filed against him.
The deal calls for Holesinger to plead guilty to one count each of wire fraud and money laundering.
He admits in the deal that he began stealing from his clients in 2008. His victims include a disabled child, whose parents gave him a $612,000 settlement check that was supposed to be used to help care for the child. Holesinger was supposed to invest the money for the child, but he instead used it for his personal and professional expenses, the plea deal and information say.