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Tag: medicare fraud

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).”

 

Feds Crack Down On Medicare Fraud to the Tune of $452 Million

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — The Justice Department  on Wednesday announced that it had charged 107 people including nurses, doctors and social workers in a nationwide crackdown on Medicare fraud in seven cities involving a staggering $452 million in false billing.

As part of the crackdown, 22 people were charged in Detroit  with fraud involving about $58 million. The Detroit Free Press wrote that Detroit has become one of the nation’s “new frontiers” for Medicare fraud.

Read the press release.

Feds Bust 91 in Nationwide $295 Mil Medicare Fraud Crackdown

FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry, left, is joined by Attorney General Eric Holder and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in announcing a nationwide Medicare fraud takedown operation./fbi photo

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Medicare fraud, which helps zap government funding for healthcare, was at front center on Wednesday when the Justice Department announced a nationwide crackdown that resulted in charges against 91 people who were involved in roughly $295 million in false billings. Authorities said in Miami alone, 45 people—including a doctor and a nurse—were charged for their roles in fraud involving $159 million in false Medicare bills in the areas of home health care, mental health services, occupational and physical therapy, durable medical equipment, and HIV infusion. In Los Angeles, six defendants—including one doctor—were charged for their roles in schemes to defraud Medicare of more than $10.7 million. And in Brooklyn, three defendants—including two doctors—were charged in a fraud scheme involving more than $3.4 million in false claims for medically unnecessary physical therapy, authorities said. “The defendants charged in this takedown are accused of stealing precious taxpayer resources and defrauding Medicare – jeopardizing the integrity of our health care system and our nation’s most critical health care program for personal gain,” said Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said in a statement. “Today’s arrests are a powerful warning to those who would try to defraud taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries,” added Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “These arrests illustrate close cooperation between the Medicare program that identified these fraudsters and the law enforcement officials who acted swiftly to cut them off. And our efforts to stop criminals don’t end here because the Affordable Care Act gives us new tools to prevent Medicare fraud before it is committed – better protecting seniors and the integrity of the Medicare program for generations to come.”

 OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Feds Indict 73 in Armenian-American Organ. Crime Ring Involving $163 Million in Healthcare Fraud

Scams in the WWWBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

More than 70 people including members and associates of an Armenian-American organized crime enterprise were charged in a nationwide scam involving $163 million in fraudulent Medicare and insurance billing, federal authorities announced Wednesday.

Authorities alleged that 73 people were involved in the operation of at least 118 different phony clinics in 25 states.

The scam involved submitting fraudulent bills “for medically unnecessary treatments or treatments that were never performed,” the Justice Department said, adding the defendants allegedly stole identities of doctors and Medicare beneficiaries.

“The emergence of international organized crime in domestic health care fraud schemes signals a dangerous expansion that poses a serious threat to consumers as these syndicates are willing to exploit almost any program, business or individual to earn an illegal profit,” Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary G. Grinder said in a statement.

“The Department of Justice is confronting this evolving threat here and abroad through a number of initiatives including a strengthened Attorney General’s Organized Crime Council and the creation of the International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2) to ensure that we are focused and coordinated in our efforts to combat international organized crime.”

Kevin Perkins, FBI Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division, said in a statement:

“The international organized crime enterprise known as the Mirzoyan-Terdjanian, fleeced the health care system through a wide-range of money making criminal fraud schemes.

” The members and associates located throughout the United States and in Armenia, perpetrated a large-scale, nationwide Medicare scam that fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $100 million of unnecessary medical treatments using a series of phantom clinics.”