Ben Carson has maintained a business relationship with a close friend convicted of defrauding insurance companies and testified on his behalf, even as the candidate has called for such crimes to be punished harshly.
Pittsburgh dentist Alfonso A. Costa pleaded guilty to a felony count of health care fraud after an FBI probe into his oral surgery practice found he had charged for procedures he never performed, according to court records.
Though the crime carries a potential sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison, Costa was able to avoid prison time after Carson helped petition a federal judge for leniency.
At Costa’s 2008 sentencing hearing, Carson described the dentist as “one my closest, if not my very closest friend.”
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