|Ex-Perrysburg doctor gets three years in prison|
|Written by By BILL RYAN/Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Friday, 01 February 2013 13:46|
Is the doctor just a bad businesswoman or a wily criminal?
On Friday morning Judge Alan Mayberry decided the former medical doctor, Stacey Royal, should spend three years in prison for her criminal convictions.
The 47-year-old Royal formerly operated a medical treatment facility in Perrysburg. She pleaded guilty in 2010 to two counts of telecommunications fraud, four cases of insurance fraud, four counts of theft and the most serious charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony. A jury trial was in its fourth day, when she stopped the proceedings to enter her guilty plea to the charges.
The charges involved consistent and frequent fraudulent billing practices to insurance companies over an extended period of time.
At sentencing she was placed on community control sanctions to allow her to become gainfully employed and begin paying restitution totaling nearly $200,000, a $10,000 fine, as well as court costs.
According to Mayberry in issuing his sentence, she has not paid a dime to any of the costs, fine or restitution in more than two years.
“I don’t see any reason to have false hope for you to see the light to have another chance at community control,” Mayberry told Royal.
He described her actions as being “as far as possible from your oath as a doctor in the court’s opinion.”
After being placed on the community control sanctions in 2010, Royal has now been found guilty twice of violating those rules.
After the first violation, the judge allowed her to remain free. However, her second violation involved defrauding a Pennsylvania innkeeper of funds for a room Royal was renting at the facility. She served 90 days in a local jail for that crime. That resulted in the second infraction of her sanctions through Wood County.
Her defense attorney, William Hayes, spoke at length regarding his recent involvement with Royal and her case. Rather than portray her as a criminal, he described her as a bad businesswoman.
“Even though she was a doctor for 15 years, there is a lack of business sense. She lacks the capability to manage her finances,” Hayes told the judge.
The defense attorney suggested a treatment facility in Toledo could teach her the “life skills” she lacks. Adding, “She needs to learn that all the rules apply to her.”
During her 2010 trial it was revealed she multiple billed insurance companies for the same service, billed for services not provided and in one case billed for a surgery she did not perform. Interestingly, she only looked in on that patient prior to the surgery yet submitted a bill larger than the surgeon’s who performed the operation. Many of the fraudulent claims were submitted on behalf of her husband and other family members.
At her trial, Anthony Van Noy, her attorney at the time, also raised issues regarding Royal’s practical abilities.
Van Noy told the jurors. “It is not fraud, she just didn’t know what the heck she was doing.”
She was accused of billing more than $900,000 in excessive, inaccurate or otherwise fraudulent claims, with the restitution ordered to recoup losses paid and not recovered.
When given the opportunity to speak, Royal asked her attorney to read a letter she had prepared, saying, “I am too emotional to speak.”
In the letter she thanked the judge and apologized to the people of Ohio, Pennsylvania and the federal government for her crimes which have cost the taxpayers dearly.
“My actions and criminal behavior is unacceptable,” Hayes read from her letter. “We are held to a higher standard.”
She asked the judge for mercy and to forgive her and give her the opportunity to pay restitution.
Aaron Lindsey, an assistant prosecutor for Wood County, took a different view of the defendant.
He characterized her behavior as not being a matter of having bad business skills, bur rather, “it was criminal.”
He noted the fraudulent claims submitted and that as someone who earned her medical degrees she was “not overwhelmed by the operation of the world.”
Lindsey added, “This second probation violation was worse than the first,” noting the first violation involved not reporting her address among other violations.
The judge called her first violation arose because she “absconded from supervision.”
Lindsey also said the treatment suggested by the defense attorney was not a viable option. The facility was contacted by the probation department and they indicated they do not have a program to help her.
The judge reimposed all the costs, fine and restitution from her original sentence, and ordered three years in prison for the engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, two years in prison for two telecommunication fraud charges, as well as for the third-degree insurance fraud and theft convictions. He also ordered one year in prison for each of the six fourth-degree felony charges, three each involving theft and insurance fraud. All sentences are to be served concurrently for the three-year aggregate total.
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