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MONDAY, JULY 30, 2007

Opening arguments Monday in Bobo’s federal fraud trial

TUSCALOOSA (AP) — Opening arguments are expected Monday in the federal fraud trial of Dr. Phillip Bobo, who is accused of offering bogus Alabama Fire College contracts in a scheme to rig bids for Medicaid work.

The Tuscaloosa physician is accused of health-care fraud, wire fraud, witness tampering, perjury and lying to federal agents.

Chief U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Blackburn said the trial could last three weeks.

Bobo’s lawyers contend prosecutors have unfairly targeted him, trying to cast his efforts to negotiate legitimate business deals as crimes.

Bidding case

The case against Bobo focuses on his 1999 efforts to discourage a competitor from bidding on a Medicaid contract.

Bobo received the contract after offering to charge more than $1 million more than the low bidder’s proposal to serve poor, pregnant women.

The low bidder challenged Bobo’s selection, and then accused Bobo of trying to bully and bribe him out of competition when state officials agreed to seek new proposals.

Prosecutors argue Bobo was attempting to rig the bids on the Medicaid contracts, offering one competitor contracts with the Alabama Fire College for little or no work if it dropped its bid.

The government’s case claims then-Gov. Don Siegelman and others arranged for $550,000 to be set aside at the Alabama Fire College — where Bobo was medical director — so Bobo could pay the bogus contracts.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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