A former accountant for Birmingham Health Care, a non-profit health care center for the bad, affirmed Thursday that she had used a wire for federal representatives at a meeting with ex-CEO Jonathan Dunning but Dunning did not implicate himself in any misbehavior.
Sheila Parker, who served as accountant at BHC and for several overlapping years too at Central Alabama Comprehensive Health Inc. (CACH) in Tuskegee, testified at Dunnings federal fraud trial about her role in the movement of money between BHC and Dunning and his personal companies.
But Parker likewise invested much of the time on the witness stand reacting to questions from a defense attorney about the federal charges against her and her child for the theft of more than $100,000 from CACH and lies she told federal detectives and others before and after the examinations.
She also testified she had determined that BHC owed Dunning cash, not the other method around.
Dunnings trial continues today beforeUS District Court Judge Barbara Jacobs Rothstein, a specially selected judge on the case.
Dunning, the previous nonprofit CEO of both CACH and BHC, deals with 112 fraud and conspiracy charges in connection with diverting to his own companies millions of dollars in federal grant money implied for treating the bad and homeless at BHC and CACH.
BHC and CACH, were amongst 1,400 federally-funded neighborhood university hospital nationwide. BHC in January altered its name to Alabama Regional Medical Services.
Federal district attorneys declare Dunning diverted federal grant money for health care services into his own pockets by establishing companies, manythe majority of them with the name Synergy in them, to contract with BHC for services and for lease agreements with BHC on buildings.
Parker and her boy, James Parker, were charged in August 2014with fraud and other charges related to the theft of $116,000 from CACH, cash they used to buy individual products such as electronic fish finders, truck tires, mobile phone and an adult website membership. The 2 likewise deal with charges associated to cannot file income tax return.
Parker got her sons help with her duties for CACH and allowed him access to the centers savings account, according to court files.
Parker was hired in 2004 as an accountant at BHC. She left in 2012 amidst the examination into her theft at CACH.
Parker affirmed that at one point Dunning formed business that would contract with BHC to offer services, including management and billing. According to previous testimony at the trial, Dunning also had actually bought BHCs main workplace building and began renting it back to the firm. He also was included with 2 other real estate dealshandle BHC, according to testimony.
Dunning stated that he had found a way making money off of the government, Parker affirmed.
After Dunning left BHC in November 2008, workers, consisting of the new CEO, Jimmy Lacey, continued to take instructions from Dunning, Parker testified. Lacey had actually been chairman of BHCs voluntary board of directors and according to earlier testimony Dunning had offered Lacey $25,000 in the months prior to Dunnings purchase of the BHC workplaces.
Dunning had actually been CEO over both CACH and BHC before he left. Afterwards CEOs were worked with for both centers and Dunning had a management agreement with BHC to help the shift with Lacey. The BHC likewise was contracted to handle CACH.
Parker affirmed that Dunning told her, in referring to Lacey, do not let that dumb SOB F ** k me up.
Wearing a wire
In April 2012 Parker was interviewed at her home in Cullman County by representatives from the Health and Human being Services Office of Inspector General and FBI.
The next day Lacey and Dunning called and established a dinner conference with her in Birmingham, Parker said. At that May 1 dinner conference, which she approximated lasted 4 to seven hours, BHC lawyer Ken Dowdy likewise went to, she said.
After the conference was established, Parker stated she called federal agents and provided to use a wire at the conference. She said representatives gave her two objects, an essential fob, and another gadget she had in her pocket to tape-record the conversation.
Parker stated that Dunning, and sometimes Dowdy, asked manythe majority of the questions about exactly what federal agents had asked her and exactly what she had informed them.
Parker, under questioning by defense attorney Costs Athanas, said that Dunning never ever said anything incriminating during that supper conference.
Athanas questioned Parker about her first interview with the federal representatives.
Parker stated that she felt intimidated. She stated the agents informed her that if they had to they would put her in protective custody at a federal jail if she didnt talk. I was terrified, she stated.
Parker confessed she had actually informed a variety of lies before and after federal agents started their examination in order to keep her task. But she rejected making a variety of incorrect accusations versus Dunning.
Parker said she pleaded guilty in 2014 in a deala handle federal district attorneys to make things right.
However Athanas asked her exactly what she had actually done to make things right. She had not paid any of the cash back extracted from CACH, had not said sorry, and had not yet been sentenced to serve whenever in prison, he explained.
Dunning isn’t pointed out throughout her plea offer, Athanas kept in mind.
Parker stated she hasn’t yet paid any of the cashthe cash back or said sorry on recommendations of her lawyer.
Athanas mentioned that under her plea dealhandle Parker, her cooperation with federal authorities and testimony was essential to whether she will wind up serving any jail time. She also is to pay restitution of $116,000 to CACH under that arrangement.
I think some restitution remains in order, Parker stated.
Just some? Athanas shot back.
Parker concurred she had actually cast incorrect allegations versus other CACH workers after cash went missing.
Even though she knew that her child had used her CACH debit card to access a porn site, she told the bank she didnt know who had actually taken the cash, Parker affirmed.
Athanas asked Parker if she had actually stolen any cash from BHC as well. Parker stated she hadnt.
But Athanas asked Parker about a wire transfer for $1,274 from BHC to Alabama Power. She said she believes it was her boy who did that.
How do I know when youre telling the reality when youre lying, Athanas informed Parker.
The judge quickly cut Athanas off and Parker didnt have to address.
Parker testified that when she was appointed as accountant at CACH in 2007 that center was $3 million in financial obligation.
Athanas asked Parker about statements she made to the CACH board that they neededhad to see more clients in order to enhance profits. They were not generating enough profits if you were taking some of it, Athanas stated.
Throughout her tenure as bookkeeper, BHC took control of the Birmingham Financial Federal Credit Union and she was given the title of co-manager in addition to her duties at CACH and BHC, Parker affirmed. That credit union initially served employees of the Birmingham Real estate Authority, she said.
Dunning sometimes was noted as president and loan officer and Lacey as vice president at the cooperative credit union, Parker testified. Lacey likewise later was noted as president, she said.
The cooperative credit union was an office inside BHC and didnt have the standard teller windows, Parker stated. The credit unions cash was held at local banks. BHC employees could make deposits through payroll reductions and take out loans, she said.
Parker testified that on Sept. 22, 2010 she established an account at the credit union where BHC clinic incomes from clients were to be deposited. She stated she was instructed by Dunning to establish the account.
Parker said that numerousoften times, at Dunnings demand, she would transfer cash from the BHC account into Dunnings personal account at the credit union. She concurred, throughout questioning by Assistant United States Lawyer Tamara Matthews-Johnson, that moving the cash from BHC to Dunnings account was not the right thing to do.
Dunning also had two loans out with the credit union, including an $85,000 loan for the purchase of a Jaguar, Parker affirmed. She stated she had gotten a call from Dunning that he had purchased a car, asked exactly what the interest rate would be, and told her to cut him a check.
No credit report or loan application was submitted and she didnt recall if the credit unions board voted to approve the loan, Parker said.
One time when Dunning didnt have enough in his account making a payment, Dunning informed her to move about $8,900 from the BHC account into his account, Parker affirmed.
Dunning informed her that BHC owed him the cash for services his business had carried out for the center and for late rental payments, Parker said.
Later on an authorities with the National Credit Union Administration, the firm that guarantees and manages credit unions, called her to state that Dunning was just eligible for a loan of as much as $50,000, Parker affirmed. The NCUA official said that the loan could be looks at as advantageous treatment given that he (Dunning) is chairman of the (credit unions) board of directors.
The cooperative credit union was taken over by the NCUA in November 2011.
BHC owed Dunning
Parker stated that she saw four promissory notes completing $241,000 that BHC owed to Dunning. She said Dunning, nevertheless, informed her BHC owed him a lot more than that for the work his Synergy business had actually performed for BHC.
Parker said she had actually told federal authorities that at one point BHC owed Dunning $1.5 million.
Did you ever come to the conclusion that Mr. Dunning owed Birmingham Healthcare money? Athanas asked Parker.
No, she replied.
Parker stated that she was informed that paying Dunnings business was a top priority, despite budget deficiencies at BHC. But she said she questioned that policy after center suppliers began cutting off services because they werent being paid. She stated one physician asked her for a stethescope.
AL.com reporter Mike Oliver added to this report