Nursing home operator gets 5-year term
Thursday, September 25th 2003, 12:00 am
News On 6
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Nursing home owner E.W. ``Dub'' Jiles was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday after a federal judge said Jiles directed a bribery scheme at the State Health Department.
The sentence handed to E.W. ``Dub'' Jiles, 68, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit money laundering, was the stiffest yet in the federal probe of the state Health Department.
Judge Robin Cauthron overruled defense objections to sentencing recommendations.
She said it is clear Jiles was the ringleader of a bribery scheme that also landed Brent Van Meter, a deputy health commissioner, in prison.
Van Meter got a two-year prison sentence and cooperated in the case against Jiles.
The defense attempted to show that Van Meter was the main culprit in $18,800 in bribes, but Cauthron said Jiles ``was the leader and organizer. He obtained more benefit than everybody else.''
She said bribery was the catalyst in the rushed transfer of nursing home patients from closed facilities to nursing homes controlled by Jiles.
She said vulnerable citizens were harmed in the process.
The evidence, the judge said, showed people were ``warehoused, or placed in holding pens, or traded or swapped'' for Jiles financial gain.
Neither Jiles nor his attorney, Carl Hughes, had any comment after leaving the courtroom.
Terry Kelly, assistant U.S. attorney, said the sentence was appropriate because of the ``heinous'' nature of the offenses against vulnerable nursing home residents.
She said the welfare of the nursing home patients meant ``nothing'' to Jiles. She said Jiles was only interested in money he could make by securing patients through the bribery scheme.
In his guilty plea, Jiles admitted paying bribes to Van Meter for preferential treatment in obtaining patients from closed nursing homes and for advance notice of inspections.