Pulaski County Court cancels clerk review; will proceed to jury trial in Medicaid fraud case
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
The status in the pending trial of disgraced former northwest Arkansas businessman and current Eureka Springs nightclub "owner" Anthony Christopher changed this past week when prosecutors in Pulaski County moved ahead with green lighting the charges for a jury trial in a Medicaid and Financial Identity Fraud case by waving the scheduled clerk review on October 7.
A "clerk review" is a procedural event that is held prior to the setting of a trial date in order to determine if the charges being brought against a defendant merit proceeding with the prosecution.
Investigators say Christopher committed his crimes against the state by billing Medicaid for approximately $35,000 in services that were never performed in late 2019, but his high-priced legal representation has been able to delay the trial with various filings and request for continuances.
According to a court clerk, the latest action of the Pulaski County Circuit Court means the case will go to trial pending a last minute plea offer made by the state. Christoper faces one count of Medicaid Fraud, a class A felony, and three counts of Financial or Non-Financial Identity Fraud, all Class D felonies.
Anthony, who owned Absolute Pediatric Therapy in Springdale, was arrested in February after a warrant was filed in the case which claimed. among other things, the clinic billed for services not provided.
Benton County judge Xollie Duncan
However, before the warrant was served Christopher was able to secure a $3.2 million libel judgement against the whistle blower in the case in a kangaroo court proceeding before Benton County judge Xollie Duncan.
Essentially, the whistle blower was unable to even present a defense against the libel suit because Duncan found her in contempt of court for failing to provide her cell phone in court which the attorney for Christopher claimed held evidence of the slander and libel supposedly committed.
The whistle blower contended at the time that the phone was stolen
from her car at her residence the day before the court proceeding. In addition to getting hit with the $3.2 judgment, the whistle blower also had to serve ten days in jail on the contempt of court charge for failing to produce the phone.
The whistle blower was forced into bankruptcy, and Christopher even bought the appeal of that bankruptcy from the court. The whistle blower is now involved in litigation in an effort to get that ruling overturned, according to her attorney.
Christopher has had a number of other legal problems over the past few years, including a court proceeding after a real estate partnership soured, being the focus of a change in the custody of the children of his then-husband and that man's former wife, allegations of refusing to pay his employees in a proper fashion, and allegations that he is using his own mother as a front to acquire a liquor license for his alternative nightclub in Eureka Springs.
Christoper was also the center of a firestorm last month when one of his employees announced plans to start holding "family-friendly drag shows" at that nightclub, Eureka Live.
Christoper reportedly sold Absolute Pediatric Therapy to one of his employees in early 2019.
Today in Fort Smith will have an update as soon as the new trial date is set in Christopher's felony cases.