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Published: Friday, 4/22/2011

Former doctor pleads guilty to fraud charges

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A former medical doctor, who nearly two decades ago lost his license in Ohio, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to charges associated with conducting physical exams on potential workers-compensation claimants.

James E. Mann, 78, of Rossford pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Toledo to three counts of mail fraud. He admitted that although no longer licensed, he conducted physical evaluations and mailed reports to a Cleveland attorney, which resulted in $91,482.81 in benefit payouts to three federal claimants.

Per the plea agreement signed March 21 and read in court Thursday, Mann will be required to pay back the more than $91,000 in restitution.

"We agree that the [Office of Workers Compensation Programs] paid out that money and we agree that they paid that money because of documents Jim produced and so we are willing to accept that [restitution] number," attorney Jon Richardson said at the hearing Thursday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Wilson said Mann's fraudulent actions occurred between January, 2008, and December, 2009, when he operated Toledo Medical Evaluators LLC, on South Byrne Road. The business has since been closed.

Mr. Wilson said that although Mann lost his medical license in the early 1990s, he personally conducted physical examinations of potential claimants referred to his business and fraudulently signed forms with the names of licensed physicians working there.

As a result of the examinations, three people were granted benefits under the Federal Employees Compensation Act for the Office of Workers Compensation Programs, Mr. Wilson said. He said Mann faces state charges for similar allegations.

Mann lost his ability to practice medicine when he voluntarily gave up his Ohio medical license in 1991 as part of a criminal case in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. According to court records, Mann was charged with nine counts of illegal processing of drug documents as a result of overprescribing medications to patients.

At the time, Mann entered a plea in the case and was given a suspended prison sentence as well as fines and community service hours. In 2003, his request to have his record sealed was denied.

As a result of Mann's admission of guilt Thursday, Magistrate James Knepp II will recommend a finding of guilt to Judge James Carr. A sentencing date was not set.

Mann was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. He was taken immediately after the hearing to be fingerprinted and photographed.

Mr. Richardson told Magistrate Knepp that he will offer more details of how the incidents happened at Mann's sentencing. After the hearing, Mr. Richardson said that it was not the exams themselves that were fraudulent, but the fact that Mann was the one doing them.

"He did what he was trained to do but not allowed to do anymore," he said.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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