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Dr. Evil Pleads Guilty to Massive Medicare Fraud and Giving Unnecessary Chemo Treatment

Featured_dr._farid_fata_7302Dr. Farid Fata/ photo from his website.

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT – Medicare fraud is pervasive in Detroit and elsewhere in the country. The U.S. Attorney’s Office here is constantly prosecuting cases, some involving some very big amounts of money.

But no case in recent times has garnered more attention in Detroit than the Medicare fraud scandal involving oncologist/hematologist Dr. Farid Fata of Oakland County, who was not only accused of bilking Medicare  of tens of millions of dollars, but of also misdiagnosing patients, telling them they had cancer when they didn’t,  and of giving unnecessary chemotherapy to people, some of whom didn’t even have cancer or couldn’t have possibly benefited at the stage of cancer they were in.

The case was simply a scary reminder that someone in a position of authority and trust can take advantage of people in their most vulnerable state.

On Tuesday, Dr. Fata, 49, of Oakland Township, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to several counts of health care fraud, money laundering and conspiracy, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Specifically, Fata pleaded guilty to 13 counts  of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks and two counts of money laundering. Sentencing is set for Feb. 23 where he could face some serious prison time and fines.

“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 Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a statement.

 “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.  Thanks to the quick action of our partners, he was arrested and has now admitted his guilt.”

Fata operated a cancer treatment clinic, Michigan Hematology Oncology, which had offices in Rochester Hills, Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, Lapeer, Sterling Heights, Troy and Oak Park.  He also owned a diagnostic testing facility, United Diagnostics PLLC, in Rochester Hills. 

Authorities said that Fata submitted approximately $225 million in claims to Medicare between August 2007 and July 2013. In the end, Medicare paid out more than $91 million to Fata, of which over $48 million was for chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.

In court on Tuesday, the doctor read aloud an admission that he submitted false Medicare and insurance claims and ordered “medically unnecessary” treatments, according to the Detroit News. 

The plea came just weeks before his Oct. 14 trial.

The News quoted Liz Lupo, the daughter of a former Fata patient who died of lung cancer in 2007. She expressed disappointment in the plea.

“He’s not being charged with enough,” she said. “He pled guilty to a handful of patients when there were thousands. We wanted to hear the details about how he was allowed to (do this).”

 


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Edward Reinhold to Head up the FBI’s Knoxville Division

Edward Reinhold

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Edward W. Reinhold has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Knoxville Division.

Reinhold most recently served as a section chief for the National Name Check Program in the Records Management Division at FBI headquarters, the FBI said in a press release.

Reinhold joined the FBI in 1987 and was first assigned to the Las Cruces resident agency of the Albuquerque Division.

Ten years later, he was promoted to a supervisory special agent at headquarters in the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division, where he was responsible for training law enforcement organizations throughout the world in the various CJIS systems and programs, the FBI said.

In 2000, he became a supervisory senior resident agent in Augusta, Ga.

In 2007, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Omaha Division, where he oversaw criminal, cyber, and administrative matters until 2012 when he returned to headquarters.

 


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Stejskal: A Book Review About Baseball, A-Rod and the Steroid Era

Blood Sport: Alex Rodriguez, Biogenesis, and the Quest to End baseball’s Steroid Era , By Tim Elfrink and Gus Garcia-Roberts

Greg Stejskal

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office.

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

This is not a traditional book review as those are usually done about the time a book is published and first available for sale. Also in the interest of full disclosure, another retired FBI agent and I are mentioned in the book albeit briefly and tangential to the primary focus of the book. The mention is related to a FBI steroid investigation we did in the early ‘90s. I’ll explain more about that later.

One of the authors of Blood Sport, Tim Elfrink, is a reporter for the “Miami New Times”, and he broke the story of the Biogenesis/Major League Baseball performance enhancing drugs scandal. Tony Bosch, Biogenesis’ founder and owner, had become a supplier of PEDs to a number professional and college baseball players. Several the MLB players were some of biggest stars in the game, and one Alex Rodriguez, “A-Rod,” the highest paid player in the history of the game.

Blood Sport is not only a great telling of the sordid story of Bosch peddling steroids and other PEDs to baseball players, but it’s an insider’s perspective of investigative journalism. The Biogenesis saga is arguably the biggest scandal in MLB since the “Black Sox” conspiracy that fixed the 1919 World Series.

In setting the stage for the Biogenesis story, Blood Sport describes some of the very early efforts to gain an advantage by the use of chemical enhancement. One such episode occurred in 1889 and involved a 32-year-old pitcher for the (Pittsburg) Alleghenies.

The pitcher, James “Pud” Galvin, had been one of the best pitchers of the era, but at 32 was past his prime. He was asked to participate in an experiment involving the use of an anti-aging elixir which was administered by injection and was nothing more than a liquid derived from the crushed testicles of animals. (Pud’s elixir came from sheep testicles, Rocky Mountain Oysters.)

The experiment was publically known and not illegal. (The sale and use of drugs was not regulated by the US government until the early 1900s.) Pud pitched a great game, and for short time his performance was proclaimed as proof the elixir worked. It was later determined that the elixar’s relatively small amount of testosterone could not have enhanced Pud’s pitching. He probably benefited from the psychological benefit of the placebo effect. But in thinking that the male hormone, testosterone, might have performance enhancing potential, they were on to something.

Blood Sport goes on to trace some of the other efforts to gain advantage in sports through chemistry like the open and pervasive use of amphetamines starting in the 50s and going into the 80s and to some extent the present.

Contemporaneous with the decline of amphetamine use began the use of PEDs that could dramatically improve a player’s performance and potentially destroy the integrity of sports – anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids are synthetic testosterone which in large amounts increases muscle size and strength. Not all steroids have this anabolic effect, but the steroids that are considered PEDs and illegal are anabolic. Testosterone is produced in males’ testicles, but much larger amounts than occur naturally are needed to enhance athletic performance.

The use of steroids as PEDs came later to baseball than to some other sports, notably football, but when they did come, it was with a vengeance.

This is where the “full-disclosure” thing I mentioned earlier comes in. It was gratifying that Blood Sport tells the story of the advent of the first major federal investigation of steroids, a FBI undercover operation dubbed Equine, and how it relates to MLB’s “steroid era.”

Equine started with a meeting of the legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, his strength and conditioning coach, Mike Gittleson, and me. Bo’s reason for meeting with me was his concern that steroids were becoming prevalent in high school and college football. Steroids were illegal under federal law except by prescription for rare circumstances that did not include enhanced performance in sports. So inspired by Bo, I decided to initiate an undercover operation, Equine, that targeted the illegal distribution of steroids. That UCO ultimately resulted in the successful prosecution of over 70 dealers in the US, Canada and Mexico and the seizure of millions of dosage units of steroids and human growth hormone (HGH).

Read more »


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Head of DEA’s Chicago Office Headed to Washington D.C. for No. 3 Job

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Jack Riley, the head of the DEA’s Chicago division, is headed to a top post in Washington D.C., the Associated Press reports.

The 56-year-old, who has shed light on the influence of Mexican cartels on the Midwest, has been named the DEA’s chief of operations. The No. 3 post at the agency means Riley will oversee all DEA activity.

Riley was previously the head of the El Paso office.

He is to begin his new job next month.

A replacement has not yet been named.


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Flood Wipes Out Significant Portion of FBI Documents on Civil Rights, KKK

FBI photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A flood has wiped out a good portion of the FBI’s documents on the civil rights era.

IO9 reports the discovery was made recently after a professor had requested documents related to the Ku Klux Klan.

Those documents – and many more – were destroyed when the FBI’s archives in Alexandria, Va., were flooded.

Hundreds of thousands of pages of other documents were destroyed. They include 41 volumes on the National Negro Labor Council, 23 volumes on Claude Lightfoot, 19 volumes on the Nation of Islam and eight volumes on Detroit’s civil rights issues.

The professor, Trevor Griffey, wrote in his blog:

A more important question, however, is: why are these archives in the possession of the FBI at all? Why does the FBI continue to retain millions of pages of historically significant files, many of which are over 50 years old, that have no relevance to its contemporary law enforcement mission? Why have these files not already been transferred to the National Archives?

Many of the historically significant files destroyed in the Virginia flooding included a series of files that were supposed to have been transferred to the National Archives during George W. Bush’s second term….Almost ten years later, these files should not still be in the FBI’s possession.

Other files of major significance to the study of racial justice, the left, and U.S. foreign policy— particularly the FBI’s 105 series files, which include hundreds of thousands of pages of files on the Black Panther Party— remain in the FBI’s possession and decades away from ever being declassified or transferred to the National Archives.

These and other historically significant files that sit in secret FBI warehouses are vulnerable to more than just flooding. Decades-old standards for determining historical significance that tend to treat local history as unimportant, combined with wide latitude granted to FBI records management staff, have resulted in tragic and reckless destruction of many historically significant files.


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FBI: New York Man Charged in Terror Plot to Shoot U.S. soldiers, Shiite Muslims

American war reporter James Wright Foley was beheaded by ISIS.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A New York man is accused of trying to buy guns for the terror group ISIS and has been charged with terrorism-related counts following an FBI investigation, NBC reports.

The FBI alleges Mufid Elfgeeh wanted to kill American soldiers and Shiite Muslims in the U.S. He also wanted to recruit potential ISIS fighters for Iraq and Syria, investigators said.

The FBI said he wasn’t just talk and had purchased a handgun with silencer to begin carrying out an attack.

FBI agents had their eyes on Elfgeeh and moved in when he began seeking financial help to carry out an attack.


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Justice Department to Investigate Extent of Law Enforcement Bias in 5 Cities

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The rash of shootings of unarmed black teens has prompted Attorney General Eric Holder to launch an investigation of law enforcement bias in five not-yet-named cities, the USA Today reports.

Holder said the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO., underscored the importance of an investigation.

To head the study is a team of criminal justice researchers who will make recommendations, Holder said.

The Rev. Al Sharpton welcomed the investigation.

“We must study the culture of policing … and the reason that the community responds the way it does,” Sharpton said in a telephone interview. He added that the Brown and Garner cases and others have “led to an even further erosion” of relations between police and communities already shaken by growing gun violence.

 


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LA Times Editorial: Border Patrol Must Take Deadly Shootings More Seriously

By Los Angeles Times
Editorial Board

The new head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s internal affairs office made a troubling assertion late last week. Since 2004, he said, the agency has apparently taken no disciplinary action against any of its agents who have used deadly force.

That follows a report released in February by the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum, which reviewed 67 shooting incidents by Border Patrol agents from January 2010 to October 2012, 19 of which were fatal, and accused the agency of violating accepted police practices and a “lack of diligence” in investigating agents’ actions.

The American Immigration Council reported in May that of 809 abuse complaints (a broader category) filed from 2009 to 2012, 40% remained unresolved, and in the resolved cases, only 3% found fault with an agent’s actions. Comparative statistics are hard to come by, but a study of 2002 data found that about 8% of complaints against civilian police officers were sustained.

The backlog of cases and the possibility that the agency has been unwilling to discipline its officers led Department of Homeland Security officials in June to replace the internal affairs director, James F. Tomsheck, with an outsider, former L.A. police officer and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Mark Morgan. It was Morgan who told reporters he had yet to find records of disciplinary actions against agents in deadly force cases. While it’s possible that there was no fault to be found, that seems highly unlikely.

It is clear that the agency must respond more quickly to complaints and must be willing to assess the behavior of its employees fairly and objectively when they use their weapons. In one 2012 case, a Border Patrol agent fired across the border into Nogales, Mexico, killing 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez; the boy, who the Border Patrol says may have been throwing rocks, was struck in the back by at least eight bullets. His family says he was merely walking home after playing basketball. The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a wrongful death suit on behalf of the family, but so far it has been unsuccessful in getting the agency to publicly identify the officer involved.

To read more click here.

 

Other Stories of Interest

 


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