Vicki Flanagan owned a successful accounting firm with 40 employees called Flanagan & Co. in Columbus, Georgia. Her problems began when her firm became the accountants for a rural, 40-bed hospital in Glenwood, Georgia known as Wheeler County Hospital. The hospital served the population of the 9th poorest county in Georgia.
During the 1990-91 random inspection, the Licensure Inspection Team determined through a review of patient charts that select patients were not receiving adequate care and the hospital was decertified from Medicaid and Medicare programs resulting in a 60% drop in revenue. The hospital faced closure that would have resulted in a serious negative impact on the area.
Vicki requested an independent peer review audit of the same charts that led to the de-certification. Dr. Lamar Carden – Chief of Staff of the Residency Program at the Medical Center in Columbus, Ga. Conducted the audit that concluded the initial Inspection report was faulty and the patients had received exemplary care. Following this review, Vicki sought the assistance of Congressman Roy Barnes and his staff to get the hospital re-certified as quickly as possible. This still took nearly ten months.
The offense Vicki was convicted for occurred over a six-month from April to Sept. of 1991 and involved South Trust Bank of Columbus and Altmaha Bank & Trust Co. Vicki was charged for a “check-kiting scheme” between her firm and the Wheeler Hospital. On Sept. 13 th ’91 Vicki’s head bookkeeper notified her of the potential problem, but did not disclose the seriousness of it. Vicki hired the services of Price Waterhouse to internally audit her firm. The report reflected that neither Vicki, nor anyone in her firm benefited from the alleged “check-kite” and that the hospital was the sole recipient of the funds from these checks.
South Trust Bank was unaware of the “scheme” until Vicki personally notified them of the activity. At Vicki’s request, the bank paid no further checks presented. In an effort to lessen the potential losses to the bank, South Trust recovered more than $2 million from Vicki’s various business accounts and she personally lost more than $4 million in assets as a result and her firm was reduced to 8 employees. She was driven into Chapter 7 bankruptcy several years after the offense, yet Vicki accepted responsibility for the loss to the bank and took it as a personal liability. Nearly FIVE years later, Vicki was indicted even though there was no victim.
It was discovered in pre-trial transcripts that an employee of Flanagan’s repeatedly told the government that she had not “prior to the collapse of the check-kite” discussed the daily activities of the check-kite with Flanagan. This employee completely reversed herself and became the government’s star witness against Flanagan. It was discovered during the course of the trial that this employee had failed to pay taxes for over 10 years and that she had entered into a plea agreement with the government to escape charges of tax evasion.
Vicki is now serving the remainder of her sentence that is comprised solely of sentencing enhancements. She was enhanced 11 levels, without any fact-finding or proof presented to the jury. These enhancements resulted in a 9.75 year increase in her sentence. Recently, in Blakley v Washington, the Supreme Court said these enhancements were unconstitutional, but Vicki may never get the benefit of this change in the law unless Blakley becomes retroactive.
Why Vicki Flanagan is requesting clemency
I have a loving, stable and supportive family. My two children are both married and have stable marriages and careers. I have 5 grandchildren that I hardly know, except through limited visits in a prison environment, phone calls and pictures. I’ve missed their first days of Santa Claus, school, ball games, dance recitals, birthdays and simple daily activities. Eight years is a long time in a child’s mind and to them I’m a stranger that lives in a weird place.
My father, a career infantry soldier, is deceased. I took my grandmother into my home and provided for her daily living needs until my incarceration, after which I only saw her once before she passed away. My mother is nearly 82 years of age and is still attempting to live alone. She has recently been diagnosed with a tumor on her liver to complicate already existing ailments. A total mastectomy left her without muscle tone on her left side, yet she will not go to a rest home. Every mother deserves and should be taken care by their children and my mother deserves the best I can provide her in care and love. My greatest concern is that she will become completely invalid and/or, god forbid, pass away while I am locked up.
My own health has progressively gotten worse since I self-surrendered to a Federal Medical Center due to a heart condition. I have been hospitalized twice in the past 1½ years due to my heart and although I manage well, I face scary facts concerning my health. The medical care is limited and unavailable to us during the nighttime hours. I have mitral valve prolapse and a bundle branch blockage of the heart. I am being monitored for mole changes on my body due to a prior history of melanoma and I’ve undergone numerous biopsies in the past 3 years. I’ve been classified by the Bureau of Prisons as a chronic care patient.
I sincerely believe that I can be an asset to my community, my family and society if released. I am presently a drain upon the tax-payer with my chronic care status and if released, could and will care for myself. I am a non-violent first time offender that, if released early, will never disappoint or embarrass this or any administration.