Attorney for NWA man facing Medicaid fraud trial in May withdraws as counsel
Citing a "conflict" the attorney for a Eureka Springs nightclub owner who is facing a jury trial on May 3 on one count of Class A felony Medicaid Fraud and three counts of Class D felony Financial or Non-Financial Identity fraud has withdrawn from the case, according to documents filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court.
High powered Little Rock Attorney Patrick Beneca, who has been the attorney of record for Anthony Christopher dating back to a December 2020 court appearance on the charges before the Honorable Judge Wendell Griffen in Division 5 of the 6th Circuit Court of Pulaski County, filed the papers to withdraw as Christopher's counsel today (March 22).
You can read the motion to withdraw as counsel by clicking the following link:
Beneca's motion states "A conflict between Mr. Christopher and Counsel has developed which requires me the representation to be terminated pursuant to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct} and that he "requests on behalf of Mr. Christopher that he have sufficient time to seek new counsel."
The charges against Christoper emanate from his ownership of Absolute Pediatric Therapy in Bentonville and events detailed in the original criminal information in the case. The investigation revealed over $38,000 in improper billing and a number of improprieties with the way certain paperwork was filed and handled in late 2017 and early 2018.
Through legal maneuvering and delays, Chrstoper has postponed his jury trial date on at least two occasions. Christopher allegedly "sold" Absolute Pediatric Therapy to another former employee in the midst of the investigation and the clinic reopened under the name of Emerge Pediatric Therapy.
A whistle-blower originally reported Christoper to officials, which incredibly led to a kangaroo court proceeding in front of judge Xollie Duncan which led to the informant being hit with a ludicrous libel and slander judgment for over $3 million dollars. That forced the former employee into bankruptcy, and Christopher actually bought the rights to appeal that bankruptcy.
The whistleblower is currently involved in legal proceedings to get the rights to her appeal returned and the judgment overturned in light of the fact that Christopher was actually arrested for the crimes she reported.
The informant also had to serve ten days in jail for contempt of court for not producing a cell phone she maintains was stolen from her car the night before the original court proceeding.
After selling the child therapy clinic, Christopher moved to Eureka Springs where he allegedly conspired with another man to take over an alternative lifestyle bar, fueling another court case by the original club owner. Christopher also drew some negative publicity when he attempted to host "family-friendly" drag shows which would have admitted children to the club.
The liquor license for that club has been listed in Christopher's mother's name since the takeover.