(DETROIT, MI) – A Detroit area haematologist-oncologist was sentenced to serve 45 years in prison for his role in a health care fraud scheme that included administering medically unnecessary infusions or injections to 553 individual patients and submitting to Medicare and private insurance companies approximately $34 million in fraudulent claims.
Farid Fata, MD, 50 of Oakland Township, pleaded guilty in September 2014 to 13 counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks, and two counts of money laundering. US District Judge Paul Borman, of the Eastern District of Michigan, imposed the sentence and ordered Fata to forfeit $17.6 million.
“Rather than use his medical degree to save lives, Dr Fata instead destroyed them in pursuit of profit,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “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.”
As set forth at sentencing, Fata was a licensed medical doctor who owned and operated a cancer treatment clinic, Michigan Haematology Oncology PC, which had locations in Rochester Hills, Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, Lapeer, Sterling Heights, Troy, and Oak Park. He also owned a diagnostic testing facility, United Diagnostics PLLC, located in Rochester Hills.
In connection with his guilty plea, Fata admitted to prescribing and administering unnecessary aggressive chemotherapy, cancer treatments, intravenous iron and other infusion therapies to patients in order to increase his billings to Medicare and other insurance companies. Fata then submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare and other insurers for these unnecessary treatments.
Fata also admitted to soliciting kickbacks from Guardian Angel Hospice and Guardian Angel Home Health Care in exchange for his referral of patients to those facilities.
“Fata’s heinous acts did far worse than defraud government health care programs and breach his professional oath,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Abbate of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “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.“
Fata further admitted to using the proceeds of the health care fraud at his medical practice, MHO, to promote the carrying on of additional health care fraud at United Diagnostics, where he administered unnecessary and expensive positron emission tomography scans for which he billed a private insurer.