VALDOSTA — A Lowndes County physician convicted in federal court of health-care fraud has asked for a new trial, according to court records.
Dr. Douglas Moss, 58, of Valdosta was convicted May 14 on one count of conspiracy to commit health-care fraud and six counts of health-care fraud, according to court records. Moss and physician's assistant Shawn Tywon were indicted by a federal grand jury in 2018.
Moss and Tywon were accused of trying to defraud Medicare and Medicaid programs by submitting false claims for services they never provided at local nursing homes, court records show. More than $2.5 million was stolen from the health programs in this manner, Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, said in a statement.
Tywon agreed to a plea deal April 1, pleading guilty to a conspiracy count, court officials said. He was a witness for the government in Moss' trial, said Melissa Hodges, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Georgia.
Moss and Tywon were originally scheduled to be sentenced in August; however, their sentencing has been postponed until Oct. 9, court records show.
Moss’ request for a new trial, filed Monday, claims there were three significant legal errors in his original trial:
• The court wrongly allowed a trial subpoena for a cooperating co-defendant to be quashed, “thus depriving Dr. Moss of his Sixth Amendment right to compulsory process”'
• The court, acting on its own, stopped the defense attorney during closing arguments from responding to the government’s evidence and closing argument about supposed “profit” Moss made, “thus depriving Dr. Moss of his Sixth Amendment right to put on a defense”;
• That the court limited and excluded evidence about Moss’ conduct as a physician which would have rebutted the government’s evidence, “and the failure of the Court to grant a continuance deprived Dr. Moss of his Sixth Amendment right to put on a defense.”
The request for a new trial claims Moss’ constitutional rights were violated when the trial court limited the number of patient witnesses he could call to rebut government evidence regarding patient care quality, and the court’s refusal to continue the trial meant there wasn’t time for the defense to adequately sort through volumes of documents.
Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.