PHENIX CITY, AL(WTVM) - A Phenix City chiropractor will spend the next 37 months behind bars after being convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Authorities say Dr. Edwards orchestrated a scheme to conduct fraudulent physical examinations on prospective long-haul truck drivers and then submit false documents to the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT).
The USDOT requires that all truck drivers undergo an initial physical examination before receiving a CDL, and that they have subsequent examinations every two years to maintain the license.
Officials say Edwards did not thoroughly examine the applicants who came to him for their required physicals. Instead, he collected cash payments from the applicants and then signed forms indicating that the applicants were physically capable of driving commercial vehicles.
In many instances, Dr. Edwards certified an applicant’s physical fitness without conducting even a partial physical examination.
Sometimes, Dr. Edwards permitted his staff, none of whom were trained medical professionals, to conduct physical examinations and then stamp his signature on the USDOT forms.
On occasion, Dr. Edwards knowingly failed to report to the USDOT conditions that would have disqualified an applicant from obtaining a CDL. For example, as discussed in court on Thursday, Dr. Edwards once reported that an applicant had 20/20 vision in both eyes when in fact, one of the applicant’s eyes was prosthetic.
At the sentencing hearing on Thursday, Chief United States District Judge W. Keith Watkins described Dr. Edwards’s crime as a “serious” one. Watkins also found that Dr. Edwards had, as a result of his offense, fraudulently obtained approximately $224,000.
“To make a few easy bucks, Dr. Edwards was willing to risk putting physically unqualified individuals behind the wheels of large commercial vehicles,” announced United States Attorney Franklin.
“Our region’s roadways became more dangerous as a result of Dr. Edwards’s greed. It is my hope that Dr. Edwards’s case will send a message to other health care providers who might take shortcuts like the ones that led Dr. Edwards to spending 37 months in federal prison. My office will not tolerate the placing of profit over the well-being of society.”