Originally created 10/24/06

Judge sets payment priorities



The companies covering the losses of the mental health center looted by former state Rep. Robin Williams and his associates will begin seeing some restitution.

U.S. District Judge Dudley H. Bowen Jr. issued an order Friday that sets the allocation priorities for the remaining corporate assets of south Augusta pharmacist Duncan Fordham.

A federal jury convicted Mr. Fordham, Mr. Williams and three others of health care fraud. In September 2005, Mr. Fordham was sentenced to four years, four months in prison and ordered to pay $1.02 million in restitution to the former Community Mental Health Center of East Central Georgia.

Mr. Fordham's restitution was second only to that ordered for Mr. Williams and the center's former director, C. Michael Brockman, who died this year. Mr. Williams, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence, must repay $1.46 million in restitution.

Judge Bowen appointed a receiver to oversee the assets of Mr. Fordham's business, Duncan Drugs, after learning of Mr. Fordham's alleged intention to give the business to someone else after his conviction.

Mr. Fordham's Peach Orchard Road business has since closed and another pharmacy under different management has opened in its place.

Judge Bowen's order instructs the receiver to use the remaining assets to pay secured creditors, taxes and the administrative expenses of the receivership.

The unsecured creditors and restitution victims then will be equally paid about 36 percent of what they are owed, according to the order.

The mental health center's insurance carriers should receive $372,120.

According to trial testimony, Mr. Williams helped Mr. Fordham get an extremely lucrative contract to run the center's pharmacy. In exchange Mr. Fordham kicked back more than $300,000 to Mr. Williams.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.