Kan. radiologist indicted in $7M Army fraud scheme

A radiologist and former U.S. Army officer from Kansas has been indicted along with two other individuals on charges of running a contracting scheme that allegedly defrauded the Army of more than $7 million for medical imaging products and services.

The officer, Dr. Heidi Lynn Webster, has already been sentenced to serve an additional 30 days in jail in addition to any other sentence she receives in the case after being found guilty of criminal contempt during a hearing on July 19. Webster reportedly interrupted the judge in the case repeatedly, drawing the contempt ruling, according to published reports.

Webster was charged after a Texas grand jury handed down an indictment claiming that she and two other defendants were part of a scheme to bribe Army personnel to allegedly steer contracts to firms they operated. Also charged in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas was retired Army Master Sgt. Lawrence Peter Fenti and businessman John Walter Hoffman.

The complaint filed in the case states that Webster worked at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and at Irwin Army Community Hospital at Fort Riley, KS, from 1995 until July 2006, when she was discharged in order to contract with the Army to provide radiology services at Irwin. She formed several firms, including MRI Resources and Pro Veteran Staffing.

Fenti worked as a radiologic technologist at Brooke, as well as other Army healthcare facilities, and from February 2006 to February 2008 was the chief noncommissioned officer at Brooke's radiology department, where he supervised enlisted personnel and facilitated equipment procurement.

During 2007 and 2008, Brooke underwent an expansion that involved displacing its MRI equipment. The Army approved spending money for temporary MRI facilities and teleradiology, and put Fenti in charge of procurement in February 2008. The Army issued several contracts over the next few years for MRI services, as well as for offsite teleradiology interpretation.

The complaint charges that Webster and Fenti formed a "corrupt partnership" in which Fenti would allegedly use his "Army positions of trust to steer Army contracts and subcontracts to Webster and her companies." They allegedly manufactured false and fraudulent invoices and bribed Army employees as part of the scheme, the complaint charges.

Government prosecutors also charged that Webster and Fenti used Data Dynamics, a North Dakota company designated by the Small Business Administration as a "disadvantaged business," as the primary contractor for Army services they bid on. Webster's companies, MRI Resources and Pro Veteran Staffing, would subcontract with Data Dynamics to actually provide service and receive payment, court documents stated.

As for Hoffman, the complaint charges that he made false statements as part of bids made by MRI Resources for an Army teleradiology contract. The complaint asserts that Hoffman stated that his company, Hoffman Surgical Devices, had a two-year teleradiology contract for more than $500,000 with Webster's MRI Resources company, when in reality it did not.

An attorney for Webster declined to comment on the case.

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