Michigan Cancer Doctor Makes Millions Off Healthy Patients

Medical Surgical Operative Photography, by Flickr user Phalinn Ooi, licensed by Creative Commons.

Second Opinion Please…

Dr. Fatrid Fata, a prominent Michigan Internist has plead guilty to 16 counts of fraud and money laundering. Dr Fata fraudulently told healthy patients they had cancer to make money off insurance. Dr Fata would administer cancer drugs to patients who did not need them and ending up injuring and killing several in his 1,200 patient practice.  Federal prosecutors said Fata bilked Medicare out of as much as $91 million by prescribing unnecessary chemotherapy treatments to his patients, many of whom didn’t even have cancer.

Fata submitted about $225 million in claims to Medicare over six years, about half for chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. “At a time when they are most vulnerable and fearful, cancer patients put their lives in the hands of doctors and endure risky treatments at their recommendation,” Assistant Attorney General Caldwell stated. “Dr. Fata today admitted he put greed before the health and safety of his patients, putting them through unnecessary chemotherapy and other treatments just so that he could collect additional millions from Medicare. The mere thought of what he did is chilling.”

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade will seek life in prison for what she called “the most egregious” health care fraud case she has ever seen. Dave Kroff was also put through years of unnecessary chemotherapy by Fata. Kroff says that the chemo suppressed his immune system so badly that he lost both of his legs.

Dr. Fata could face 10 years in prison for the health care fraud, 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the conspiracy to receive kickbacks, and 20 years in prison plus another $5 million fine for money laundering charges. The government is seeking a life-in-prison sentence. Fata, a native of Lebanon, has lived in Michigan for a decade and became a naturalized citizen in 2009. He is being held on $9 million bond. Sentencing is expected to take place in February.

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