A Michigan doctor who made millions from insurers by misdiagnosing patients and recommending unnecessary treatments faces a sentencing hearing in a federal court this week.
Farid Fata, originally from Lebanon, pleaded guilty last year to multiple charges, including fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.
The prosecution, which is pushing for a 175-year sentence, described his medical work as “tainted by his greed and fueled by financial decisions over medical ones,” the Detroit Free Press reported.
Many of his former patients attended the court Monday, and some will begin testifying Tuesday.
A memo from prosecutors cited by Daily Mail alleged that 553 people were given unnecessary treatment, leading to 9,000 injections and infusions.
These treatments were reportedly not only unnecessary, but also harmful. A health expert told the court Monday that patients received “stunning” doses of a powerful drug which exposed them to life-threatening infections, WDIV reports.
“This is a small fraction of the people this guy has hurt,” Terry Spurlock, 52, who had three more years of treatments after a tumor on his neck disappeared, told WDIV. “He gave me so much treatment, it stopped my immune system.”
Fata also allegedly gave false hope to terminally ill patients, encouraging them to undergo treatments which would not benefit their condition.
“Dr. Fata told my dad it would make it easier. His kidneys eventually failed,” said Jeff Berz, whose father died a year after being diagnosed with Leukemia.
“Did the drugs kill him or the cancer? I don't have any definitive answers, but I do have my suspicions,” Berz added.
Fata’s guilty plea referred to 16 cases, and his defense team is requesting a prison sentence of no more than 25 years.
“Every time I turn around, I'm running into somebody who knows somebody who was treated by Dr. Fata. This is so widespread,” Berz said.
The hearing is expected to last approximately a week, the Free Press reports.