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HomeNewsLocal newsSupreme Court Reverses 2019 Conviction in Medical Center Corruption Trial

Supreme Court Reverses 2019 Conviction in Medical Center Corruption Trial

Defense attorney Gordon Rhea, left, and defendant Amos Carty outside the courthouse on St. Thomas Friday. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)
Fourteen years after he was charged with multiple crimes, St. Thomas attorney Amos Carty Jr. is acquitted on appeal by the V.I. Supreme Court. Defense attorney Gordon Rhea, left, and Carty are pictured outside the courthouse on St. Thomas in 2019, above. (Source photo by Judi Shimel)

More than a decade after he was charged with racketeering, fraud and embezzlement, St. Thomas attorney Amos Carty Jr. has been cleared of wrongdoing at the Schneider Regional Medical Center.

A three-judge panel at the Virgin Islands Supreme Court reversed Carty’s 2019 conviction in an appellate ruling delivered on Thursday.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice Rhys Hodge, the justices said the legal advice Carty provided to the hospital’s chief may have been wrong, and Carty himself may have gained financially, but prosecutors failed to prove he did so with an intent to break the law.

“For reasons that follow, we reverse all of his convictions and direct entry of a judgment of acquittal on all counts,” the chief justice wrote.

A high court panel consisting of Hodge, Associate Justice Maria Cabret and Designated Justice Curtis Gomez heard oral arguments in Carty’s appeal on Oct. 12. Associate Justice Ive Arlington Swan recused himself from the case, according to court documents.

Attorney Gordon Rhea, representing Carty, told justices that prosecutors from the Justice Department “failed to prove that any of his conduct was unauthorized and that even if it was he lacked the intent to violate the law or commit fraud due to his reliance on advice from numerous lawyers, auditors, and accountants.”

Carty served briefly as Schneider Regional’s chief executive officer following the departure of Rodney Miller in 2007. Prior to that, Carty held the post of chief operating officer at a public health facility where he began as legal counsel in 1999. He was removed from the top spot by the hospital’s board of directors in 2008 after an audit report by the Office of the V.I. Inspector General raised allegations of corruption against Miller, Carty and then-Chief Financial Officer Peter Najawicz.

The three top executives at Schneider Regional were accused of concocting a scheme where they would compensate themselves and each other with perks, benefits and allowances well above their authorized salaries, without approval from the hospital board. Hospital board chairwoman June Adams was arrested along with Miller, Carty and Najawicz in October 2008, but Adams was acquitted two days after the start of the first corruption trial in 2011.

That trial lasted six weeks and ended in a hung jury; the judge declared a mistrial. The then-Attorney General Vincent Frazer vowed to stage a retrial. Eight years passed before the criminal case returned to Superior Court. In November 2019, a jury found the three defendants guilty of multiple offenses.

In December 2019, Rodney Miller was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Carty and Najawicz were sentenced to one year apiece, but were given a chance to delay the start of their sentences by meeting conditions set by the court. Miller’s co-defendants both filed appeals to the Supreme Court.

“We won,” Rhea said after receiving the ruling on Thursday. “On behalf of Amos Carty, we thank the Virgin Islands Supreme Court for its thoughtful and fair opinion. Amos Carty has been vindicated, and justice has been served.”

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