Farid Fata, the doctor who was dubbed the “cancer doctor” after lying to many patients about their health, sobbed at his sentencing this week. After many victims shared their experiences in court, the judge handed down Fata’s sentence, and he will be behind bars for quite some time.
Newsweek shares that “cancer doctor” Farid Fata was sentenced to 45 years in a federal prison. He pleaded guilty last September to more than a dozen counts including health care fraud, conspiring to pay and receive kickbacks and money laundering. His medical license has been revoked and he has been in jail since his plea.
The case against Dr. Farid Fata involved $34.7 million in billings to insurers and patients, and the former doctor admitted that $17.6 million in work that was paid had not been necessary. The victims involved were typically fraudulently diagnosed with cancer and put through cancer treatments in order to bring in millions of dollars for the doctor.
During the court sessions for the sentencing, 22 victims spoke about how they were put through chemotherapy when they never had cancer, or chemo that was far too strong for what they could handle or needed. One patient spoke about being diagnosed with the wrong kind of cancer. Several families spoke on behalf of their relatives who had died as a result of Fata’s crimes.
Reports indicate that Fata’s fraud began in 2009 and was woven through multiple medical businesses of his. CBS News reports that more than 500 patients were put through unnecessary treatments throughout the former doctor’s fraud. Farid Fata was arrested just days after one of his practice’s oncologists, Dr. Soe Maunglay, read the chart of patient Monica Flagg in 2013 and reported his suspicions and findings to a superior.
Prosecutors had asked for the 175-year maximum allowed for the charges involved, and the defense had pushed for a 25-year sentence. Fata’s attorney had argued that a longer sentence would likely lead to his client’s death due to his issues with hypertension and diabetes. Fata reportedly cried as he stood next to his lawyer during the sentencing proceedings.
Though a couple of former patients did ask the judge for leniency for Fata, most of the families who spoke expressed heartbreak and stories of permanent changes to their lives as a result of the former doctor’s scheme. Yahoo! Health notes that Farid Fata’s doctoring fraud led to at least 2,000 unnecessary chemotherapy treatments for those pulled into his scheme. While Fata has been sentenced to prison now, his restitution hearing still lies ahead and he’s already agreed to return $17.6 million he had received.
[Image via Dziennik Zwiazkowy]