A federal judge ordered a Corbin businessman to pay over $90,000 to a subsidiary of a large, international computer company earlier this month – the latest in a host of legal entanglements plaguing the man also accused of ripping a charitable homebuilding organization.
In a judgment and final order filed January 10 by U.S. District Court Judge Karen Caldwell, Robert A. Carter, Jr., and Corbin Family Practice Clinic, Inc., must pay $87,287.89, plus eight percent interest, to Hewlett-Packard Financial Services Company for violating a lease agreement with the company for software to aid in billing and patient record-keeping. Carter must also pay $3,768 in legal fees, with interest, to the company.
The judgment, which can be appealed, comes more than a year after the court granted a default judgment in the case because neither the company nor Carter responded to the original civil complaint. Defense attorneys had asked that the judgment be set aside because there was confusion about when defendants in the case had been served with paperwork notifying them of the lawsuit. According to federal civil rules of procedure, a formal response has to be filed to a lawsuit within a certain timeframe. In denying the motion, Caldwell said Corbin Family Practice, and Carter, showed a “reckless disregard for the courts procedures” and said their defenses in the case were without merit.
The company entered into a lease agreement with Hewlett-Packard Financial Services in May 2004 for the software. Carter personally guaranteed that 60 monthly rental payments of $1,400 would be paid. According to court records, only one payment was ever paid, but the clinic continued to use the software.
As part of the judgment, Caldwell also barred Corbin Family Practice from using the software any further. She had originally ruled in favor of Hewlett Packard on Dec. 12, 2005 and upheld that judgment this month after denying defense motions.
The federal court judgment is just the latest in a string of legal problems for the Corbin businessman.
Last March, Carter was indicted by a Whitley County grand jury on 26 counts of theft for allegedly taking more than $27,704 from Habitat for Humanity – a charitable organization that helps poorer citizens acquire homes. From August 2002 through May 2005, Carter was custodian of funds for the Cumberland River Valley Habitat for Humanity and most of the allegations claim he intentionally converted money meant for the charity by writing checks to himself for his own personal benefit.
Shortly after the indictments, Habitat for Humanity International, Inc. filed a lawsuit in Whitley Circuit Court against Carter and his branch of the organization. The lawsuit seeks to dissolve the Cumberland River Habitat for Humanity, for a turnover of all corporate and financial records and recovery of assets. Whitley Circuit Judge Jerry Winchester has ordered that all assets and accounts related to the complaint be frozen until the case is settled.
In 2004, Carter was acquitted by a local jury on a theft-related charge. He was accused of taking $4,000 from a local woman to supposedly invest in an IRA account, but instead converted the money for his own use and the benefit of others. The woman supposedly received all the money back.
In 2001, he pleaded guilty to charges of committing fraudulent insurance acts in exchange for a two-year prison sentenced, which was probated for five years. In that case, Carter was accused of submitting phony insurance applications to Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, depriving the company of $10,856.44.
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