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Citrus Springs man accused in medical fraud case

A Citrus County man is accused by federal prosecutors of taking part in a Florida-Georgia scheme that defrauded the U.S. government of more than $5.2-million, records say.

Thomas E. Davidson, 65, of Citrus Springs and three Georgia residents are named in indictments by the U.S. attorney's Southern District Office in Savannah, Ga.

They face a total of 166 criminal counts. The indictments were handed down by a federal grand jury March 14. The combined penalty of the charges is 63 years in a federal prison and $2-million in fines.

Davidson is listed as a former president and chief executive officer of Shankman/Davidson Psychiatric Management Inc.

Also facing criminal charges are Davidson's son, Michael, 33, the company's former vice president of administrative operations; Andrew S. Shankman, 43, a psychiatrist and former partner in the company; and Mary Jane Pedrick, 50, former vice president of clinical operations for the company. All three reside in St. Simons Island, Ga., where the company was located.

Davidson faces 135 criminal counts, which carry a maximum penalty of 50 years in federal prison and a $1.5-million fine.

Davidson, of 8898 N Salina Drive, could not be reached for comment Friday. He has no prison record in Florida and no criminal history in Citrus County.

Edmund Booth Jr., acting U.S. attorney for the southern district of Georgia, said the indictments are the result of a lengthy investigation by federal agencies including the FBI and Internal Revenue Service, along with law enforcement agencies from Florida and Georgia.

Shankman/Davidson Psychiatric Management Inc. was set up to provide psychiatric care for patients at its St. Simons Island office and at nursing homes and other offices throughout Georgia and Florida, the U.S. attorney's office said.

The company submitted claims of more than $5.2-million to Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs for services that were never provided, and in some cases, for services the money was never meant to pay for, federal authorities say.

The scheme began Jan. 1, 1989, and lasted until Dec. 31, 1995, according to the indictments.

The U.S. attorney's office is also charging the four with the "use of mails and interstate wire communications" to submit the fraudulent claims, which included not just false claims, but overbilled ones as well.

Controlled substances "outside the usual course of professional practice of psychiatry" were also distributed through the company, according to the indictments.

The final charge is money laundering of the funds obtained from the government.

Corporate records show that Shankman/Davidson Psychiatric Management Inc. is no longer active in Georgia. No other company officials could be reached for comment. The company's phone number in St. Simons has been disconnected.

_ Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

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