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Columbia investigators head north

By KRIS HUNDLEY

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 31, 2000


Maybe now the big shots can relax at the hospital chain formerly known as Columbia/HCA.

By fall, two of the key figures in the long-running, Tampa-based criminal investigation of the company will relocate to Washington.

Joe Ford, special agent in charge of health care fraud in the FBI's Tampa office, has been promoted. He will be head of the economic crimes unit at FBI headquarters. Among his duties: supervising investigations into securities and telemarketing fraud.

Kathleen A. Haley, who plans to marry Ford in November, intends to look for a government job in Washington. She has been an assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting white-collar crime in Tampa. Haley and Ford got to know each other well during the lengthy trial of four Columbia executives in Tampa a year ago.

Columbia, which has changed its name to HCA, has agreed to pay $745-million to settle most of the government's complaints.

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