Kokomo cab operator agrees to plead guilty to Medicaid kickback scheme

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The owner and operator of Kokomo cab company has agreed to plead guilty to federal charges that he misused Medicaid dollars.

Eugene Lawman appeared in federal court Wednesday after being charged last month with offering and paying kickbacks to patients of an Indianapolis methadone clinic. Prosecutors allege that Lawman, the owner and operator of Kokomo Cab LLC, registered his company in 2012 as a transportation provider under Indiana’s Medicaid program.

For three years, between 2012 and 2015, prosecutors allege that Lawman would drive Medicaid patients between Kokomo and the Indianapolis Treatment Center, where they’d receive treatment for their addictions. Court records show that during that time period, Lawman “paid cash” to those patients “in the amount of their treatment costs to induce them to use Kokomo Cab’s transportation services,” the records state.

The total amount Kokomo Cab received as a result of Lawman paying cash to the Medicaid patients totaled more than $159,000, the records state.

Lawman, 78, told a judge he understood the charge against him and agreed to waive his right to a grand jury and would instead plead guilty.

Outside court, Lawman refused to answer any questions posed by I-Team 8.

When asked if he had agreed to plead guilty to hire people to use his cab service, he said: “I don’t know. I plead the Fifth.”

When pressed if he knew what he was doing was illegal, Lawman said: “Never mind.”

Court records show he is expected to be sentenced on May 20. He could face up to five years in prison and/or probation.

After his initial court appearance Wednesday, Lawman was released without supervision.

His attorney, Charles Hayes, declined to comment because the case is still pending.

Kokomo Cab was the subject of an FBI raid last fall. At the time, it was unclear why the raid was being conducted.

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