Evanston podiatrist questioned in murder case

Evan Hessel

An Evanston podiatrist was arrested Tuesday and charged with two counts of obstruction of justice in a case involving a former patient who was recently murdered, the office of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said.

Dr. Ronald Mikos was charged with obstructing justice to prevent Joyce Brannon, 54, from testifying before a federal grand jury investigating Mikos for Medicare fraud. If convicted, Mikos could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

A criminal complaint filed Tuesday alleges that Brannon, a patient of Mikos, was shot and killed in her Chicago apartment between 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Jan. 27, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

The U.S. Attorney has not filed a homicide charge against Mikos.

Federal agents interviewed Brannon in September 2001 as part of a federal grand jury investigation against Mikos that began around August 2000, according to the report.

The investigation focused on allegations that Mikos billed Medicare for operating on patients’ feet when he actually performed toenail clippings and other non-surgical procedures, according to the report. From 1995 to December 2000, Mikos billed Medicare for over $1 million in service claims.

The criminal complaint against Mikos alleges that he billed Medicare for 87 surgical procedures he said he performed on Brannon’s feet. She told federal agents that Mikos had trimmed her toenails and operated on her large toes but did not perform 87 surgeries, according to the press release.

Brannon was served with a federal grand jury subpoena in early January requiring her to testify Jan. 31. The complaint alleges Brannon had told a friend that Mikos had said her testimony could ruin his medical practice, and that she could say she forgot the exact procedures. Mikos’ cellular phone records also indicate that he made calls to other patients who had been subpoenaed before a federal jury, according to the press release.

The criminal complaint also states that officers from the Skokie Police Department seized several weapons from Mikos Jan. 6, including a .22 caliber revolver.

Police confiscated the weapons because Mikos’ Firearms Owner’s Identification Card had expired.

Skokie police returned the weapons to Mikos Jan. 24 after he had been issued a new owner’s identification card.

The complaint indicates that someone entered Brannon’s apartment Jan. 27 and fired six shots from .22 caliber automatic revolver into her back and head, killing her.

The complaint also alleges that a witness said a red Pontiac was in the area at the time of the murder.

Mikos has a 1994 red Pontiac convertible registered to his name, according to the press release.

Police searched a storage unit in Chicago Feb. 5 rented by Mikos and discovered a .22 caliber automatic firearm, ammunition and an empty holster, according to the press release. The criminal complaint states the revolver returned to Mikos by the Skokie police was not in the storage unit at the time of the search.

The U.S. government is being represented in the case against Mikos by assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Berkowitz.