An oncologist in Michigan who operated many upscale clinics in Detroit-area suburbs has been serving a 45-year prison sentence since February 2015..
Five years ago, Dr. Farid Fata, was accused of and arrested for giving cancer treatment drugs to his patients, even they did not need them, and some of them did not even have cancer.
According to U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade:
“Dr. Fata did not care for patients; he exploited them as commodities. He over-treated, under-treated and outright lied to patients about whether they had cancer so that he could maximize his own profits.”
Even though chemotherapy is toxic to both cancerous and healthy tissue, Fata “gave poison to these people not to keep them alive but to make money. “
His patients had the chance to file claims and receive a fraction of the money he collected as a result of the fraud. One of his patients, Chris Sneary, who visited the doctor due to testicular cancer treatment from 2010 to 2013, said:
“I gave full and total trust to this man to get me and my family through this journey I was about to begin. Dr. Fata took full advantage of my trust in him, my fear of dying and, most of all, my top of the line health insurance.”
Donald Crabtree, who did have cancer, spoke out in court posthumously, as his wife Marietta, read a statement aloud in court:
“None of the tumors were helped – they increased in number, they increased in size… I believe Dr. Fata knowingly and purposely treated me for the wrong cancer and gave me the wrong chemotherapy.”
In September 2015, Fata pleaded guilty to 13 healthcare and financial fraud charges and ordered to forfeit $17,600,000 by the U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman.
He admitted that he gave unnecessary aggressive cancer treatments like chemotherapy and infusion therapies to 553 patients in order to increase billings, which totaled about $34,000,000 to Medicare and private insurance companies.
In a tear-choked voice, he said:
“I have violated the Hippocratic oath and violated the trust of my patients. I do not know how I can heal the wound. I do not know how to express the sorrow and the shame. They came to me seeking compassion and care. I failed them. My sins are many.”
Yet, his regrets were nothing in comparison to the grave sense of loss that weighed heavy in the courtroom:
According to the federal prosecutors, he was the “most egregious fraudster in the history of this country.”, treating his patients as profit centers only.
On the day of his sentencing, many of his victims wore bright yellow clothes to symbolize the last day he would see sunlight. After an hour of deliberation, the judge came back, and he was sentenced to 45 years behind bars.
Chief Weber said:
“This is the most egregious case of fraud and deception that I have seen in my career. Dr. Fata not only defrauded the government out of millions of dollars, but he lied to his patients about their health and intentionally put their lives at risk.
In fact, because of his lies, some of those patients who he was entrusted to care for likely died as a result of his actions. This defendant greedily cared more about his own financial well-being than the lives of his patients. This disgusting and diabolical scheme has hurt hundreds of patients and their families and stolen from them something that no punishment from the court can do to make them whole.”