MCREA, GEORGIA - A Chipley man currently serving two years in prison for six counts of healthcare related fraud is challenging his conviction.

Eon L. Menckeberg, 56, was sentenced last May and ordered to pay $268,135.10 in restitution to Northwest Florida Community Hospital (NFCH) in Chipley and $122,184.38 in restitution to Jackson Hospital in Marianna after a jury found him guilty of presenting false insurance documents related to care he received at both hospitals.

Menckeberg, who is currently incarcerated at CI McRea, a contracted federal facility located in McRea, Georgia, is also subject to deportation upon his release, which is scheduled for October 9, 2017. The pending deportation follows a determination that Menckeberg, a citizen of Suriname, has been posing as a U.S. citizen for 20 years after the Immigration and Naturalization Service denied his petition to become a permanent resident alien and ordered him to voluntarily depart from the United States by December 26, 1986.

Menckeberg filed a motion to set aside the conviction on his own behalf, citing several grounds, including that "justice was compromised, as was judicial expedience" because he was unaware of the legal ramifications of waiving his right to a speedy trial. He asserts he signed the waiver in an attempt to be a "reasonable and understanding person since (his then-counsel) Michelle Spaven Daffin was preparing for her wedding."

"(Menckeberg) was faced with the decision concerning continuance of the trial or have counsel that was not properly prepared for trial or offer a less than zealous defense," stated the motion.

Menckeberg also asserts the multiple changes in court dates - most which were made after motions to continue were filed on his behalf, either by defense counsel or Menckeberg himself - prevented him from committing to a date for corrective surgery to his leg.

"These delays, lasting 438 days, have contributed to a temporary fixable medical problem becoming a permanent disability," claims Menckeberg. "(This is) a punishment not warranted, but a punishment nevertheless."

Additionally, Menckeberg claims prosecutors "added 12 levels to the offense" by adding other medical bills to the charges that were not included in the original indictment and that his sentence was enhanced by the prosecution's assertion that he declared he was a U.S. Citizen to law enforcement officers. Menckeberg claims that was a false statement which he was denied the right to address in court.

Menckeberg goes on to state NFCH's complaint itself was incorrect. Although the Wound Healing Institute of Chipley is a branch of NFCH, Menckeberg claims the hospital "lacked the legal authority" to file the complaint because his "fiduciary relationship" was with "Wound Healing Institute of Chipley, Inc." which has a mailing address in Tampa and not billed as NFCH.

Menckeberg also claims Jackson Hospital "does not qualify as a victim" because the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act defines victim as "one directly and proximately harmed as a result of the commission of an offense."

"The indictment clearly states that the offense 'wire fraud' took place after (Menckeberg) had already ended his relationship with (Jackson Hospital)," reasoned Menckeberg in court documents.

Menckeberg's motion was filed on January 3. No further action has been scheduled on the case at this time.