A former Detroit-area doctor was sentenced Friday to 45 years in prison for misusing his authority to prescribe harmful, unnecessary treatments to 553 patients.
Farid Fata, 50, gave patients powerful cancer drugs in cases where they were not suffering from the illness, and many relatives believe the treatments resulted in premature death.
District Judge Paul Borman described Fata’s actions as a “huge, horrific series of criminal acts,” adding that he “shut down whatever compassion he had as a doctor and switched it to making money," Click On Detroit reported.
Although Fata was not offered a plea deal, he pleaded guilty to fraud, money laundering and conspiracy last year. Insurance companies and patients paid out over $17 million as a result of his actions.
“I misused my talents, yes, and permitted this sin to enter me because of power and greed,” Fata said in court. “My quest for power is self-destructive.”
“I failed, yes, I failed,” he added, referring to his responsibility to provide compassionate care to patients.
“He preyed on our trust, our exhaustion, our fears,” Ellen Piligiam, whose father was given strong drugs he did not need for a tumor in his shoulder, said.
Not everyone was satisfied with Fata’s punishment.
“Prosecutors did a fantastic job -- and he got 45 years. It's a lifetime sentence for the rest of us,” said Monica Flagg, who was treated for cancer despite not having it. “What about all the grave markers out there that all the victims' families have to look at?”
“It’s not justice at all,” added Liz Lupo, who believes her mother, Marianne, died prematurely because of unnecessary drugs prescribed by Fata.
In court, the prosecution had pushed for a 175-year prison sentence.
“It is not mob justice. It is appropriate for this crime,” federal prosecutor Catherine Dick told Borman in court.
Over five days, the court heard testimonies from 22 patients or relatives of patients, some of whom had died, the Detroit Free Press reported. The testimonies included stories of healthy individuals being given chemotherapy, losing their teeth, and being diagnosed with cancer in the wrong area of their bodies.