Longtime Phenix City chiropractor Kenneth G. Edwards pleaded guilty this week to falsifying reports that claimed his practice gave truck drivers valid physical examinations required by the federal government.
Edwards, 65, of Columbus, pleaded to conspiring to commit wire fraud, according to U.S. Attorney Louis Franklin.
Edwards was arrested in February, when investigators said he and two Smiths Station employees had participated in a scheme to submit to the U.S. Department of Transportation documents claiming Edwards had examined the truckers when at times he had his workers do it.
“The U.S. DOT requires that all truck drivers undergo an initial physical examination before receiving a commercial driver’s license, and that they have subsequent examinations every two years thereafter to maintain the license,” federal authorities said then.
“According to the indictment, Dr. Edwards and his staff did not perform physicals that were up to U.S. DOT standards. They would then send forms to the U.S. DOT that falsely certified the truck drivers had passed all of the U.S. DOT physical exam requirements.”
Charged with Edwards then were employees Joann Bush, 58, and Andrea Daigle, 40. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Howard said Friday afternoon that Bush has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and her sentencing has been set for July 26. Daigle’s case still is pending, he said.
During his plea hearing Wednesday, Edwards admitted he occasionally let workers who were not trained medical professionals conduct the physicals, after which Edwards would send the Department of Transportation documents reporting that he had performed the exams, prosecutors said.
Edwards’ sentencing hearing is yet to be set. He faces up to 20 years in prison, and also could be ordered to pay fines and restitution.