HOUSTON, (Texas) A federal jury in Houston found Earlie Dickerson, 50 and Edward Graham, 46 of Bryan, Texas guilty of engaging in a conspiracy to defraud various automobile insurance companies of over $3 million using the United States mail. The jury deliberated about four hours before finding both defendants guilty of all 31 counts against them on Friday, October 11, 2013. United States District Judge Kenneth Hoyt set sentencing for January 6, 2014.
Dickerson was the office manager of Sanjoh & Associates Law Firm which, according to trial testimony, employed no attorneys. Many of the Sanjoh clients thought Dickerson was the attorney with one witness even calling him Earlie Sanjoh. The evidence at trial established that, from February 2007 through December 2009, Dickerson used his position at Sanjoh & Associates to recruit individuals involved in auto accidents to be represented by the Sanjoh law firm. Graham was the owner of Texas Avenue Chiropractic Clinic; which was located next door to the Sanjoh law firm. Three other individuals, Chase Lindsey, 44, Marion Young, 52, and Brittany Jessie, 23, also were charged with the conspiracy but each pleaded guilty prior to trial. Lindsey was a chiropractor and part-owner of Lindsey Chiropractic Care in Bryan. Dickerson also co-owned three chiropractic clinics in Bryan with Young, Graham, and Jessie: Texas Avenue Chiropractic Clinic; H&E Chiropractic Care; and Private Chiropractic Care. Dickerson would send the individuals he recruited to these three clinics and one clinic owned by Lindsey. Lindsey was the chiropractor at all four clinics.
Lindsey entered into an agreement with Dickerson to provide medical evaluations of, and recommend treatment for, patients sent to him by Dickerson in exchange for $2,000.00 in cash per month. The patients allegedly were injured in auto accidents and were represented by the Sanjoh law firm. Lindsey routinely recommended medically unnecessary therapeutic treatments. In some instances, Lindsey either never evaluated the patient or did so after the patient had already begun receiving treatments. The treatments, if done, were done by unlicensed, untrained and unqualified individuals. Lindsey always prescribed the same six treatments but the patients usually received only two: ice/heat packs and electric stimulation. Lindsey prescribed the treatments be done 3-4 times per week for 5-6 weeks. The patients usually went once a week for 3-4 weeks. Lindsey provided no follow-up treatments. Dickerson and his co-defendants used four chiropractic clinics in the scheme. Lindsey started working for Graham at his clinic, Texas Avenue Chiropractic Clinic, in February 2007 and continued until it closed on or about September 1, 2007. When the Texas Avenue Clinic stopped operating because of the insurance companies growing suspicions, Dickerson and Graham continued the criminal enterprise by opening up a new clinic under the name H & E Chiropractic with Lindsey as the only chiropractor. After H&E Chiropractic shut down in March 2008, Dickerson continued the on-going criminal scheme using a new clinic, Private Chiropractic Care, which he opened with Brittany Jessie as the primary owner and Lindsey as the only chiropractor. After Private Chiropractic Care shut down in September 2009, Dickerson and Lindsey agreed to continue the fraud scheme by sending the Sanjoh clients to Lindsey Chiropractic Care; which is Chase Lindsey's chiropractic clinic. Sanjoh clients were sent to Lindsey Chiropractic until search warrants were executed in November 2009. False and fraudulent chiropractic bills were created by Graham and Jessie for treatments which were never performed. Dickerson used the fraudulent bills as support for settlement demand letters sent to auto insurance companies. The fraudulent demand letters caused the insurance companies to issue settlement checks. The scheme to defraud the automobile insurance companies resulted in the submission over $3 million in false billing claims. The insurance companies paid out at least $1.5 million in false claims during 2007-2009.
The defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy and each of the thirty (30) mail fraud counts. Parole has been abolished in the federal prison system. Dickerson and Graham were allowed to remain free on bond pending their sentencing.
The criminal charges were the result of a joint investigation by agents of the FBI and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Al Balboni and Special Assistant United States Attorney Adrienne Frazior.