Patrick A. Jackson, an Internet-based ultrasound salesman who defrauded medical providers including veterinarians around the United States and beyond, was sentenced in Maryland’s Howard County Circuit Court Tuesday to 12 years in prison. However, all 12 years of the sentence were suspended, enabling Jackson to avoid incarceration.
Jackson’s lawyer, Richard G. Berger, said his client was able to stay out of prison by paying full restitution to his victims. “He was able to come up, thank God, with the money. Obviously, he would have been facing prison time if he had not,” Berger told the VIN News Service by telephone.
Jackson, 48, owner and operator of Amerisource Medical LLC, was indicted March 28, 2012, by the Howard County Grand Jury on 14 counts of theft. He pleaded guilty on Sept. 11 to one count of “theft scheme between $10,000 to $100,000.”
Sentencing, originally set for Jan. 18, was rescheduled three times. Berger said the postponements gave Jackson time to round up the money to repay his victims.
“He had to go through a lot of hoops to get the money,” Berger said, suggesting that the defendant’s family members contributed. Jackson no longer had any of the funds he’d been paid for ultrasound devices, the lawyer said: “He didn’t save any money.”
A list of payments recounted by Berger shows that Jackson refunded a total of $93,182 to 11 victims. Payments ranged from a high of $31,500 to a low of $1,000.
Two victims confirmed to the VIN News Service Tuesday that they had just received their checks. One was Dr. Darren Loula, a mobile large-animal veterinarian in Clever, Mo., who was refunded the $1,000 deposit he paid to Amerisource for an ultrasound machine he never received. Another was Yale Shulman, MD, a urologist in Jersey City, N.J., who’d made a down payment of $8,250 for a machine that wasn’t delivered.
Most of Jackson’s dissatisfied customers were in the United States, but one was a small-animal veterinarian in the Central American country of Honduras.
Berger said Jackson made no statement to the court explaining his actions but did apologize to the court and to his victims.
Jackson will be on supervised probation for one year. Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office spokesman T. Wayne Kirwan said any violation of the law by Jackson during that period could trigger a violation-of-probation hearing that could result in him being sent to prison.
Defense attorney Berger said the 12-year prison sentence “had to do with the vast amount of money involved. Had we not worked this case out by way of a plea bargain,” he added, “there’s no doubt in my mind that he would go to jail even though it was his first offense. Judges don’t like thieves, and this was a large-scale theft scheme.”
The VIN News Service first became aware of concerns about Amerisource Medical LLC in 2010, when Dr. Jeffrey LaHuis, a veterinarian in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., described troubles with the company on a message board of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), an online community for the profession. VIN is parent of the VIN News Service.
A subsequent news article
about LaHuis’s difficulties obtaining a used ultrasound diagnostic imaging unit for which he’d paid Amerisource Medical $5,000 led other medical providers to contact the VIN News Service about their own similar experiences. At one point, Amerisource Medical and Jackson were under investigation
by police in Waukesha, Wis., as well as in Howard County, Md.
The legal case ultimately was handled in Maryland, where Jackson resides.
Amerisource Medical LLC apparently no longer is in business, although the company, which was registered with the state in 2009, is listed as "active" by the Maryland Department of Assessments & Taxation. Berger said Jackson now works for Capital Imaging LLC in Bethesda. An employee who answered the telephone there described Jackson as handling marketing of the company’s diagnostic imaging services. Jackson was not available for comment.