A federal grand jury in Alabama indicted 70-year-old G. Ford Gilbert, owner and CEO of the Sacramento, California, based, Trina Health, a national network of insulin infusion centers for people with diabetes. He was taken into custody on federal public corruption charges, including bribery, racketeering, health care fraud, and wire fraud. Alabama state Representative Jack D. Williams, 60, of Vestavia Hills, and lobbyist Martin J. Connors, 61, of Alabaster, were also indicted in an alleged scheme to win insurance coverage for Trina Health’s brand of diabetes treatment.
Gilbert and his team made deals with investors to open multiple Trina Health clinics nationally. He then claimed an insulin infusion procedure he developed reverses some common complications of diabetes, such as neuropathy. Gilbert never showed any signs of being deterred by the nation’s top diabetes researchers who stated his procedure is a scam. The American Diabetes Association even told patients to steer clear from seeking Gilbert’s branded “Artificial Pancreas Treatment.” Despite all of this pushback, Gilbert continued to openly market his protocols for years across seventeen states, pushing for patients to receive treatment.
As he was being indicted, court officials further alleged Gilbert “came up with a plan to push a bill through the Alabama Legislature’s 2016 session that would require Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) of Alabama to cover the treatments.” BCBS denied reimbursement for three of the health system’s Alabama clinics, which had operated in 2014 and 2015 in Fairhope, Foley, and Birmingham.
“Gilbert then schemed to force Blue Cross to change its position,” according to the U.S. Attorney General’s office in Montgomery, Alabama. Gilbert supposedly came up with a plan to make payments to Alabama House Majority leader Micky Hammon, a Republican, who had agreed to lobby for the bill. Hammon pleaded guilty in federal court on mail fraud charges in an unrelated case and is currently serving a three-month prison sentence.
Asked about the Alabama reimbursement issues in 2017, Gilbert, an attorney, replied, “Yes, we tried to go the way through the Legislature. But that all fell apart. Since then we’ve decided to file a lawsuit. We have a lawyer there to help us file a lawsuit.” To date, the lawsuit he referred to remains unfiled.
In an investigation conducted by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, government officials discovered Gilbert hired Connors, the former chairman of the Alabama Republic Party, to lobby on behalf of the bill, and Connors then recruited Williams, who chaired the Commerce and Small Business Committee of the Alabama House of Representatives.
“Williams also knew of the payments to Hammon and acted in part to help Hammon, who as everyone in the scheme knew, was experiencing grave financial problems,” according to a news release related to the case. The three defendants have been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery related to federal programs, conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud, and honest services wire fraud.
Gilbert has also been charged with wire fraud, healthcare fraud, and interstate travel in aid of racketeering. He is scheduled for arraignment in Trina’s home state of California on April 18th.