PATTAYA – Paul Cardwell, the former CEO of Powell Valley Healthcare and a wanted fugitive, has been apprehended in Thailand after a nearly year-long search, the FBI said Friday afternoon.
Cardwell was arrested early Friday morning in Chonburi Pattaya and is in Thai custody, said FBI spokesman Dave Joly in the agency’s Denver office.
“He’s not in the U.S. yet, but I’m sure that (arrest) will give his victims some relief to know that this guy won’t be doing this to anybody else, hopefully, any time soon,” Joly said.
Joly said it may take up to a month to get Cardwell back to the United States, where he faces federal criminal charges in both Wyoming and Indiana.
Cardwell is alleged to have stolen nearly $848,000 from Powell Valley Healthcare between March and September 2011 and close to $846,000 from White County Memorial Hospital in Monticello, Ind., between 2003 and 2009. Cardwell served as CEO of the two hospitals during the alleged thefts, running the Indiana facility before he moved to Wyoming to take the job in Powell.
Prosecutors say Cardwell stole the money by pretending the funds were going to a staff recruiting firm called Plake and Associates. In reality, Cardwell was simply splitting the funds, 75-25, with longtime friend and West Lafayette, Ind., resident Michael Plake, prosecutors say. The scheme ended when auditors and officials with Powell Valley Healthcare and its management company, HealthTech Management Services Inc., caught on.
Plake accepted responsibility for his role in the fraudulent billing scheme, pleaded guilty to three felony counts and was sentenced last month to two and a half years in prison. In contrast, Cardwell, who’d been out on a $50,000 unsecured bond, fled in late August. Federal authorities had been looking for Cardwell since then.