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Posted September 26, 2008 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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Luray doctor pleads guilty to wire fraud, tax perjury

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(From a press release) HARRISONBURG -- Dr. Francis Habo George, 50, of Luray, pleaded guilty today to wire fraud and tax perjury charges in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

Francis, a medical doctor who has a practice in the Luray area, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of tax perjury.

The charges, according to a statement released by acting U.S. Attorney Julia C. Dudley, are related to his misuse of $327,000 in federal grant funds issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration in 2003. The grant money was to be used to renovate the building that housed his medical practice.

"This office is committed to investigating and prosecuting all incidents in which individuals who have earned the public's trust, such as medical doctors, take advantage of that trust and engage in criminal activity," Dudley said. "Mr. George took a federal grant intended to improve conditions for his patients and instead used taxpayer money to line his own pockets."

According to the release:

"George admitted that instead of paying for building upgrades at his practice, he used the grant funds to make his property mortgage payments, pay his son's college room and board, make payments on a Discover credit card and pay for unrelated personal legal fees and other personal obligations.

"Today in District Court George also admitted that he committed tax perjury in 2005 for
calendar year 2004 by submitting a false tax return. According to the defendant, on his 2004 tax return, form 1040, page 1, line 22, he listed his total income in the amount of $11,484.50. However, George failed to report at least an additional total income of $150,000."

George faces a maximum penalty of 23 years in prison and/or a fine of $250,000.

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