MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – California healthcare CEO Ford Gilbert, 71, will spend six months in federal prison for conspiring to bribe Alabama lawmakers to pass legislation to benefit his health clinics.
Gilbert pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the government, agreeing to serve a six month custodial sentence followed by six months of home confinement; however, it took hours of deliberation to convince District Judge Myron Thompson to accept the plea agreement, which was below the recommended sentencing guideline of 18-24 months.
“How often does the U.S. Attorney’s Office ask for a downward variance for a defendant who isn’t cooperating,” Thompson asked.
Gilbert’s company, Trina Healthcare, developed an outpatient treatment for diabetes. In Alabama, Blue Cross Blue Shield declined to cover the treatments.
The government says Gilbert created a scheme to push a bill through the Alabama Legislature in 2016 that would require Blue Cross to cover the treatments to benefit his clinics.
He paid House Majority Leader Micky Hammon, who was prosecuted in an unrelated case, to promote the bill and hired co-defendant Marty Connors to lobby the legislation.
Hammon and Connors then asked former Rep. Jack Williams, then-chairman of the Commerce and Small Business Committee, to hold a public hearing on the bill.
Source: WSFA12 NEWS