Governor Signs Legislation Creating
Nation’s First Public Chiropractic College
FLORIDA: On March 4, 2004, Florida Governor Jeb Bush today signed into law Senate Bill 2002, legislation creating a variety of new health care initiatives including the authorization and funding to establish the nation’s first public chiropractic college at Florida State University. The bill was approved previously by both the Florida Senate and House of Representatives in the opening days of Florida’s annual 60-day legislative session.
You can run, but you can’t hide….
Globe-trotting Chiropractor Faces Tax Charges
FLORIDA: After a 3-year chase across the United States, then to Canada, the West Indies and all the way to Australia, the Internal Revenue Service finally got its man—a former Boca Raton chiropractor and radio show host wanted for tax evasion,
Living in Brisbane, Queensland, Bruce Eric Hedendal was known as Dr. Erik Hedendahl, and he had an office, a website and another radio show promoting holistic and chiropractic care.
Hedendal fled the United States in 2000 after a federal grand jury indicted him on charges of not paying $180,000 in income taxes from 1993 to 1995. The IRS says he tried to hide his income and assets in sham tax-exempt trusts bought from a Royal Palm Beach man who was convicted of tax fraud conspiracy in 2001.
Arraigned in federal court in early February, Hedendal pleaded not guilty to three counts of tax evasion, each carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $100,000. In addition, with penalties and interest, he now owes the government $742,000. Considered a flight risk, Hedendal is being held without bail.
Palm Beach Post
DC Found Guilty of Rape
OHIO: Chiropractor Darrin Pordash was found guilty of rape and sexual assault in late February for attacks on patients. Jurors determined that Pordash assaulted three women during visits to his office last October and November. He faces the possibility of up to 30 years in prison.
Pordash's lawyer, James Burge, had told the jury of five men and seven women that the sexual contact between Pordash and the women was consensual.
The Plain Dealer.
Undercover Agents Everywhere!
Contrite Cooperative Chiropractor Gets 3 Years for Fraud
NEW JERSEY: A former East Orange chiropractor who pleaded guilty to health care claims fraud and using a runner to drum up business was sentenced to three years in state prison in late January.
Michael Baer was taken into custody after his sentencing in Superior Court in Newark, though the judge said he would recommend that Baer be considered for release under the state’s intensive supervision program as early as possible.
Baer pleaded guilty last June to two counts of an indictment against him and agreed to cooperate with authorities. His agreement included testifying against an associate, Mohsen Mosslehi, another chiropractor charged with health care fraud, but Mosslehi was acquitted at a trial in October. Nonetheless, the judge said he found Baer’s trial testimony credible and, that he apparently had played an important role in the Mosslehi case. Additionally, Baer wrote the judge a letter acknowledging his wrongdoing and expressing contrition.
With his pleas, Baer will have his chiropractic license suspended for a period of time to be determined by the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners.
In admitting his guilt, Baer said he turned in bills for chiropractic services that were never performed in 2000 on a woman who was an undercover investigator with the state Division of Criminal Justice, though he did not know it. State authorities estimate the phony bills amounted to more than $20,000.
During the investigation that began in May 2000, Baer began subletting his office to Mosslehi two days a week, law enforcement officials have said. On days Baer wasn’t using the premises, Mosslehi ran his business out of the same space, authorities said.
According to police, Mosslehi gave a “runner” $500 in the summer of 2000 from himself and Baer. In return, the runner “brought each man a patient that same summer, but the runners also were undercover agents.
FLORIDA: A Port St. Lucie chiropractor could spend up to a year in jail after pleading no contest in late February to four counts of practicing without a license, and two counts of filing false insurance claims.
Gregory Dale Blackman is expected to be sentenced April 26, and the State Attorney’s office has agreed to cap Blackman's punishment at a year in jail, and then, after that, up to 30 years of probation.
Blackman was arrested in December 2002 after a four-month investigation by the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office. Undercover detectives posing as patients received medical attention on four visits to Blackman from Sept. 23 to Oct. 18, 2002, according to court records.
The investigation began after three insurance companies reported receiving multiple bills totaling $41,915 from Blackman's office. The bills dated back as far as November 2001, when Blackman was suspended from practicing medicine, according court records.
In December 1997, he had agreed to voluntarily withdraw from practicing medicine until he received treatment for drug abuse, specifically of Xanax and hydrocodone, according to a Florida Department of Health report.
But, Blackman, who continued to see patients, failed to finish treatment and his license was suspended on Nov. 6, 2001, according to the report.
His license was revoked on July 25, 2002, when he was described as an “ongoing threat to the public,” according to a state report.
Palm Beach Post
Cruel chiropractor zaps baby daughter with stun gun
JAPAN: A former chiropractic clinic owner, who was arrested in early March for abusing his 3-month-old daughter about a year ago when she did not stop crying, now faces attempted murder charges for using a stun gun on her, investigators said.
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in Japan is seeking to charge the suspect with attempted murder as the stun gun, with an output of 500,000 volts, could cause a heart to stop.
In the specific case for which he was arrested, Tetsuta Iio pushed down heavily on his baby daughter's back and stomach in March last year, causing her injuries that took two weeks to heal, according to investigators.
MPD investigators said they believe that Iio began to abuse the victim under the pretext of chiropractic treatment about two months after she was born, adding that the abuse occurred only when his wife was away from home.
Investigators said that there were traces of burns caused apparently by a stun gun. Iio also allegedly used the stun gun to abuse a rabbit that his family was keeping at their home. He had bought the weapon for self-protection.
Mainichi Daily News
Chiropractor Charged in the Death of Her Husband
WISCONSIN: The Walworth County District Attorney has upgraded the charges against a Park Ridge chiropractor in the death of her husband.
New charges filed in late February against Carol McGough LaPorte include first-degree reckless homicide while armed with a dangerous weapon and aggravated battery while armed with a dangerous weapon.
LaPorte had been charged previously with second-degree reckless homicide in Anthony LaPorte's death.
Anthony LaPorte's death Sept. 28, 2004, in Williams Bay, Wis., was caused by blood loss from a single knife wound to the heart.
The original criminal complaint filed Dec. 8 states that the couple had an argument, and Carol LaPorte was afraid her husband would choke her. She had a bruise on her arm but none on her neck, according to the complaint. She also states in the complaint that she stabbed her husband because she was afraid of what he would do to her.
The couple had not had physical fights before, according to her statements in the complaint.
The first-degree reckless homicide charge carries a sentence of 65 years in prison. The aggravated battery charge carries a fine up to $10,000 and a prison sentence up to 11 years. Both charges carry an additional five-year penalty for the use of a dangerous weapon.
Pioneer Press Online
Quadriplegic sues Quad-City chiropractor
IOWA: A former Davenport man has filed a lawsuit claiming that he went to a chiropractor’s office with a stiff neck and back pain and left a quadriplegic.
Gary D. Davis, 50, has no feeling in his extremities or below his neck and now lives in a nursing home near his family in Kentucky, attorney Andrew Rink said. The lawsuit, filed early in February, claims that Davis went to the Davenport office of chiropractic doctor Bradley Merritt in July for the neck and back problems.
“At the time Davis was lying face down, receiving some sort of treatment, adjustment or manipulation by Dr. Merritt, Davis had the sudden onset of very severe pain and became flaccid and quadriplegic,” the lawsuit claims.
Paramedics called to the scene found Davis sitting by the edge of the table being supported by Merritt, who had not placed Davis in a cervical collar, laid him flat or immobilized him, the lawsuit claims. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for past and future physical and mental pain and suffering, disability, disfigurement and medical expenses.
“The allegations are negligence,” Rink said. “Dr. Merritt didn’t do any X-rays ahead of time.”
Davis had been treated once or twice at Merritt’s office about a year prior to the incident.
Dr. Merritt declined comment about the lawsuit, citing legal reasons.