In a surprise move Friday afternoon; Dr. Don O’Neal paid the court-ordered restitution just minutes before a court proceeding was to begin regarding the status of his probation.
As a part of a plea bargain reached last year, Dr. O’Neal was sentenced to a 10-year probated sentence with deferred adjudication and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $817,674.84.
The restitution order, issued by then-District Judge Robert Newsom, was appealed and, ultimately upheld by the appellate courts and a deadline of July 3 was set for payment of the restitution.
Former District Attorney Martin Braddy, who was appointed special prosecutor in the case against the doctor, said the full restitution amount was paid just more than an hour before the hearing was to begin.
“We were planning to present the evidence that [O’Neal] had not paid, not even one penny towards restitution and ask the judge to violate his probation,” Braddy said. “About an hour and half before that was to begin, he paid the full amount of restitution by way of a cashier’s check presented to the probation office as ordered.”
Defense attorney Heath Hyde said he was surprised by the move.
“Dr. O’Neal was able to resolve it, he was able to get some assets or change some of the assets that existed that would allow him to satisfy the restitution,” Hyde said. “Obviously it was something that was hard to do because it was done at the last minute.”
With the full payment of the restitution, O’Neal will continue to serve out his probation sentence for first-degree felony of misapplication of fiduciary property.
“[Dr. O’Neal] is glad to get that behind him and is now just trying to resolve other issues,” Hyde said.
Failure to meet any of the terms of probation could cause the probation to be revoked and a prison sentence of between five years and 99 years to life in prison could be imposed.
Legal problems, however, are not over for the embattled physician.
Dr. O’Neal still faces prosecution on theft and Medicaid fraud by the Texas Attorney General.
That trial has been moved to Paris and has been set for October.
|< Prev||Next >|