State representative, two others charged in corruption case

Prosecutors say the men conspired to get a law through to benefit a California business owner.

Posted: Apr. 2, 2018 12:28 PM

A state representative from Vestavia Hills, a lobbyist and the owner of a diabetes treatment company in California are all facing charges that they worked together to change state law.

Rep. Jack D. Williams, 60, lobbyist Martin Connors, 61, of Alabaster, and G. Ford Gilbert, 70, of Carmichael, Calif., were all arrested Monday, according to federal prosecutors.

Gilbert, who owns Trina Health, is accused of coming up with a plan to push a bill through the Legislature in 2016 that would force Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama to cover treatments at his diabetes treatment centers. Gilbert hired Connors to lobby on behalf of the bill, prosecutors said, and paid then-House Majority Leader Rep. Micky Hammon in exchange for his efforts supporting the bill.

Hammon and Connors persuaded Williams, who was chair of the House Commerce and Small Business Committee, to hold a public hearing on the bill, according to prosecutors. Williams knew Gilbert had made payments to Hammon, they said, and everyone involved knew Hammon was having financial problems.

All three men were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and honest service wire fraud. Gilbert also was charged with wire fraud, health care fraud and interstate travel in aid of racketeering.

Prosecutors said Hammon wasn't charged in the case because he is currently serving a three-month federal prison sentence for mail fraud.

Each of the men faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

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