“I think he’s guilty of the most cruel thing that a human being can do to another human being.”
That’s what Dr. Soe Maunglay has to say about his boss, Michigan oncologist Farid Fata, M.D., who on July 10th was sentenced to serve 45 years in prison and forfeit $17.6 million.
Dr. Fata was a successful hematologist-oncologist and the owner of Michigan Hematology Oncology, a cancer treatment clinic with locations across the state. He also owned the diagnostic testing facility United Diagnostics in Rocherster Hills, MI.
Dr. Fata was arrested two years ago after one of his employees launched a whistleblower lawsuit against him. Last September, Dr. Fata pleaded guilty to 23 counts of health care fraud, 2 counts of money laundering and 1 count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks.
While Dr. Fata has been compared by many to ponzi operator Bernie Madoff, his crimes are far more heinous. Dr. Fata’s scheme for ripping off insurance companies included incorrectly treating over 500 of his own patients.
Dr. Fata falsely diagnosed patients with cancer in order to prescribe them chemotherapy and other expensive cancer treatment, and he improperly prescribed treatments for those of his patients that did have cancer.
“Because of his lies, some of those patients who he was entrusted to care for likely died as a result of his actions,” said Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service.
Dr. Fata’s patients lost money, years of good health, and suffered a reduced quality of life as a result of his schemes. Many will continue to suffer adverse side effects as a result of Dr. Fata’s misdiagnoses.
In light of the number of lives Dr. Fata has affected with his schemes, many of his victims argue that he has gotten off light. However, for the 50-year-old doctor, his 45-year sentence is effectively a life sentence.
Dr. Fata’s arrest was made possible by whistleblower legislation that protects employees that expose the fraudulent acts committed by their employers. His crimes serve as a disturbing reminder to seek a second opinion from your doctor after any major diagnosis.
Sources: “Detroit Area Doctor Sentenced to 45 Years in Prison for Providing Medically Unnecessary Chemotherapy to Patients,” The United States Department of Justice, 10 July 2015.
Nathanson, Kathryn, Anna R Schecter and Jon Schuppe, “Farid Fata Gets 45 Years in Prison for Scamming Hundreds of Cancer Patients,” NBC News, 10 July 2015.
“Whistleblower on how he exposed cancer doc’s fraud,” CBS News, 9 July 2015.