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Friday, December 28, 2012 6:09 PM

‘Atkins’ doctor’s tax evasion indictment hits local patients

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer

A Lawrence doctor who also saw patients in Ottawa ended her association with the local practice about one week before she was indicted on tax evasion charges Dec. 19 by the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Dr. Mary Vernon, an obesity specialist who co-authored the “Atkins Diabetes Revolution” book with the late weight loss expert and others, was indicted on five counts of tax evasion and one count of making a false statement to a bank to obtain a loan, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

In addition to her Lawrence practice, Vernon saw patients at Heartland Pulmonary & Internal, 1428 S. Main St., Suite 3, Ottawa. A spokesperson with Heartland Pulmonary said Friday morning that Vernon had left the practice about two weeks ago.

She declined comment about the doctor’s patients but encouraged Vernon’s former patients at Heartland Pulmonary to call the office at (785) 242-4465 if they needed a referral or had other questions. Vernon could not be reached for comment.

Vernon, 60, earned almost $800,000 by working for the late Dr. Robert Atkins’ companies from 2003 to 2008, according to The Associated Press. The “Atkins Diabetes Revolution” was published in 2004, a year after Atkins’ death.

While applying to refinance a home, she is accused of providing documents purported to be income tax returns from 2006 and 2007, but she didn’t file returns either year, the Associated Press reported.

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