Ahoskie physician sentenced

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 23, 2007

RALEIGH – An Ahoskie physician avoided active jail time, but does face 10 years of probation as well as other court related actions.

In regards to failing to pay federal income tax over a three-year period, Dr. Ricky L. Brooks was found guilty of two charges. He received five years of probation each on two counts, was ordered to perform 200 hours (each year) of community service, set up a schedule of back taxes, make restitution, provide a list of assets to the government on which they can levy to alleviate debt and become compliance with taxes.

According to Special Agent Nancy J. Hatfield, Public Information Officer for the Internal Revenue Service office in Raleigh, the sentencing occurred March 12 in United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.

Hatfield provided the criminal information filed against Brooks in April of last year. Those charges were issued in three counts n one each for the calendar years 1999, 2000 and 2001. All charges alleged that Dr. Brooks received taxable income on which was owed federal income tax to the IRS. The charges further alleged the defendant did willfully fail to pay the income tax, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7203.

Dr. Brooks, an obstetrician/gynecologist, has been in private practice in Ahoskie since 1991. He works primarily with patients who receive Medicare and also provides services on a part-time basis at the Bertie Rural Health Association and at the separate Bertie County Health Department.

It was well-documented during the court proceedings that Dr. Brooks provides service to a “primarily African-American, low income, indigent population with significant health disparities.” Since entering the medical profession in 1987, it is estimated he has performed an average of 12-to-15 deliveries per month.

It was also brought to the attention of federal officials that, through the years, Dr. Brooks provided his services for free or at low cost to many of his patients. He often waived co-payments and agreed to accept Medicare or other insurance reimbursement as full payment for his services when patients are unable to pay.

According to court papers filed by Dr. Brooks’ attorney, Keith Williams of Greenville, one of the reasons that Dr. Brooks has not paid his taxes through the years has been his

lack of adequate recordkeeping.

“Without proper records, he has not had the organization and discipline needed to be able to make his tax payments,” according to defense counsel.

Williams went on to point out that as of January 1, 2007, Dr. Brooks has instituted a new system of tracking finances.