Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Former State Employee Who Inspected California Alcohol Drug Rehab Clinics Sentenced to 41 Months in Federal Prison for Taking Cash Bribes

In Los Angeles, on January 10, 2011, former state employee Gary Eugene Goethe, 48, of Sacramento, was sentenced by United States District Judge Gary A. Feess  to 41 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to four counts of extortion under color of official right and two counts of bribery charges for demanding more than $100,000 in bribes from the owners of two drug rehabilitation clinics.

Mr. Goethe pleaded guilty in May 2010 pursuant to a written plea agreement.  In addition to the prison term he received today, Mr. Goethe was ordered to repay the bribes he received during the FBI’s undercover investigation of his corrupt activities.

Mr. Goethe worked for the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs (ADP) as a Drug Medi-Cal Monitoring Supervisor who traveled to alcohol and drug treatment clinics throughout California to inspect records and documentation related to Medi-Cal billings. ADP, which receives federal funding, is responsible for administering prevention, treatment and recovery services for alcohol abuse, drug abuse and problem gambling. The case was prosecuted in Los Angeles because the clinics at issue were in the Central District of California.

Mr. Goethe was arrested on July 9, 2009 by FBI special agents as he was leaving a meeting where he accepted a $3,500 cash payment that was part of a $10,000 bribe he had negotiated. Mr. Goethe subsequently pled guilty to having solicited and accepted bribes from rehabilitation facility owners in exchange for his promises of approvals and other benefits. In a plea agreement filed in this case, Mr. Goethe admitted that he told a clinic owner that he could help the owner obtain certifications that would allow the owner to expand service offerings to include mental health treatment. Mr. Goethe admitted having promised that, in exchange for cash bribery payments, he could “guarantee” that the owner’s clinics would obtain certification to provide mental health treatment services. Goethe demanded $92,000 in bribery payments from the owner.

In relation to another facility, Mr. Goethe admitted that he revealed to the owner that the clinic was being investigated by the California Department of Justice (CalDOJ), but, in exchange for a cash bribe, he could “help” the clinic owner by providing confidential information about the subjects and progress of the investigation, as well as steering CalDOJ away from the clinic. Mr. Goethe admitted that he demanded $10,000 in bribe payments from the owner of this facility. During sentencing, Judge Feese commented that Mr. Goethe’s conduct was “essentially a shakedown of those...over whom he has authority and the ability to control." 

Posted by Tracy Green, Esq. Please email Ms. Green at tgreen@greenassoc.com or call her at 213-233-2260 to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation.  

The firm focuses its practice on the representation of licensed professionals, individuals and businesses in civil, business, administrative and criminal proceedings. They have a specialty in representing licensed health care providers in California and throughout the country. Their website is: http://www.greenassoc.com/


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