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An Oakland township, Michigan hematologist-Oncologist was sentenced in federal court on Friday for administering unnecessary infusions and injections to approximately 553 patients in a massive $34 million Medicare and insurance scam. He received 45 years.
50-year-old Farid Fata, MD of the Detroit area previously pled guilty to 13 counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks and two counts of money laundering, in 2014.
In court, the prosecution laid out details of the doctor’s scheme. “Rather than use his medical degree to save lives, Dr. Fata instead destroyed them in pursuit of profit,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “Time and again, Dr. Fata callously violated his patients’ trust as he used false cancer diagnoses and unwarranted and dangerous treatments as tools to steal millions of dollars from Medicare, even stooping to profit from the last days of some patients’ lives. While no sentence can restore what was taken from his patients and their families, the sentence imposed ensures that never again will Dr. Fata lay hands on another patient.”
“Health care fraud has been a serious problem in Michigan, but no case has been as egregious as the conduct of Dr. Farid Fata,” said U.S. Attorney McQuade. “Dr. Fata did not care for patients; he exploited them as commodities. He over-treated, under-treated and outright lied to patients about whether they had cancer so that he could maximize his own profits.”
“Fata’s heinous acts did far worse than defraud government health care programs and breach his professional oath,” said Special Agent in Charge Abbate. “Fata caused grievous emotional and physical harm, betraying the trust of hundreds of innocent patients by selfishly placing his personal financial gain over the health and welfare of those who entrusted him with their medical care. The many brave individuals impacted by this defendant’s criminal acts had the strength to come forward, express their experiences of pain and suffering, and collaborate with law enforcement and prosecutors to ensure that Fata’s despicable actions were brought to an end and justice delivered.”
“It is startling and abhorrent when greed is so potent that it drives a medical professional to recklessly abandon the most basic and important principle of his profession, ‘First, Do No Harm,” said Special Agent in Charge Pugh. “Dr. Fata did just that when he falsely diagnosed his patients with cancer and administered toxic chemotherapy with potentially harmful and even deadly side effects. Today’s sentencing is a clear message that, working closely with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to investigate, charge and prosecute medical professionals who jeopardize the health of patients.”
“This is the most egregious case of fraud and deception that I have seen in my career,” said Chief Weber. “Dr. Fata not only defrauded the government out of millions of dollars, but he lied to his patients about their health and intentionally put their lives at risk. In fact, because of his lies, some of those patients who he was entrusted to care for likely died as a result of his actions. This defendant greedily cared more about his own financial well-being than the lives of his patients. This disgusting and diabolical scheme has hurt hundreds of patients and their families and stolen from them something that no punishment from the court can do to make them whole.”
Fata carried out his scheme in at least eight locations throughout the state of Michigan, where he administered unnecessary aggressive chemotherapy, cancer treatments, intervanous iron and other infusion therapies to unsuspecting patients in order to increase billings to medicare and otherr insurance companies.
Fata also received kickbacks for referring patients to the Guardian Angel Hospice and Guardian Angel Home Health Care.
In addition to his 45-year prison sentence, Fata was ordered to forfeit $17.6 million.