[Updated June 2019] Nothing surprises us anymore. The biggest threat to this country and we taxpayers isn’t ISIS, it isn’t terrorism, it isn’t even politicians. It is fraud. It’s occurring at record levels and much of it is brazen. This post, however, even caught me off guard.
Dr Farid Fata was labeled the Dr. Death and the Butcher of Detroit. Those aren’t our nicknames. Those labels came from patients and a fellow physician we spoke with. The Justice Department labeled him “the most egregious fraudster” in U.S. history. If you have a strong stomach, you can read our previous posts on Fata here and here.
Even if you are familiar with the story, keep reading. What Farid Fata is doing today will shock you. In fact you should read those posts, because years later Fata is trying to manipulate the system. Like a true p]sociopath, he simply cannot take responsibility for his sick actions.
Sentencing of Farid Fata
In July of 2015, Fata was sentenced to 45 years in prison for Medicare fraud. At his age, he probably won’t make it out of prison alive. What did Fata do to deserve 45 years in prison? Prosecutors say that he defrauded Medicare by prescribing dangerous chemo drugs to patients that didn’t need them and in some cases didn’t even have cancer. At least one patient reportedly died as the result while others lost teeth, suffered liver failure and other gruesome side effects of the chemo.
At his sentencing, the government’s lead prosecutor said,
“Dr. Fata is the most egregious fraudster in the history of this country, measured not by the millions of dollars he stole but by the harm he inflicted on his victims, over 550 identified so far. Rather than healing or easing the suffering of the cancer patients and others who sought is help, Fata administered thousands of unnecessary treatments – a variety of chemical infusions and injections, all with potentially harmful and even deadly side effects – to the patients who entrusted him with their care. He did it entirely for his own benefit.”
Just over a year ago, Fata told the sentencing judge “I misused my talents, yes and permitted this sin to enter me because of power and greed.”
Dozens of victims and their family members also testified at sentencing. All of their stories are heart breaking and some absolutely terrifying.
In handing down the 45 year sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Borman said, “[T]his is horrific. It’s unprecedented, I think, in terms of the amount of unnecessary medical treatments required of the patients, ordered by the Defendant to maximize dollars without consideration of the human beings that he was abusing, his trust they had put in him.”
Judge Borman also found that Fata “practiced his profession until he practiced greed and shut down whatever compassion he had as a doctor and switched to making money.”
Farid Fata Today
Where is Fata’s remorse today? If he had any at all, it’s entirely gone. In a shocking new development, Fata told a Kaiser Health News journalist that he is innocent and plans to argue that his detention is unlawful. The man labeled Doctor Death, Farid Fata, couldn’t stand to be locked up for several months and now wants the proverbial “redo.” Unfortunately, his patients don’t get to file a habeas petition and have all their pain and suffering magically erased. They don’t get new livers or teeth. There is no “redo” for them.
Many of the patients he mistreated were very sick and perhaps some of those would have soon died anyway. Instead of making them comfortable in their last months, however, jurors found that he just ratcheted up the chemo to dangerous levels. The more doses of chemo, the more he was able to bill Medicare.
What is worse… giving chemo to a patient that doesn’t have cancer or denying a dying patient their dignity and comfort in their final months? It’s a terrible question that 553 people and their families are grappling with today.
Earlier in this post I questioned whether Farid Fata was ever remorseful. Although he accepted responsibility by pleading guilty, there is little evidence today that he was remorseful. His apology was terse but appeared heartfelt at the time it was made*. His present actions and his actions today in suddenly claiming his innocence suggest the remorse was never real. In fact, even at the time of sentencing, Fata tried to block his former patients from testifying.
Will Farid Fata get released? No. Despite the article in Kaiser News in which Fata shares his plan of getting out of jail, the U.S. Court of Appeals already affirmed his sentence. That a court would now suddenly find his detention illegal after 3 judge panel affirmed the sentence is extremely unlikely.
In May of 2016, a unanimous appellate panel found that Fata’s conduct was “a huge, horrific, series of criminal acts.”
Fata says he is not only innocent, he is also working with a group of Christian authors that are writing a book called Convicted Out of Thin Air: The True Story of Dr. Farid Fata. We worry that his erratic behavior will only hurt his victims all over again.
Like many monsters, Fata was brought to justice after two different whistleblowers came forward and reported his conduct. One went to the Michigan medical board authorities and the other to the FBI. As a result of those reports, Fata was locked up, he can’t practice medicine and the feds seized $11 million of his assets. (Fata was reportedly trying to build pr purchase his own castle.)
Normally, whistleblowers are entitled to up to 30% of whatever the government collects from wrongdoers. In this case, however, the money is going to victims. Some of those victims lost their jobs, homes and continue to suffer from a long list of painful side effects.
Most whistleblowers we represent don’t become whistleblowers for the money. They are heroes that step forward because it is the right thing to do and because they want to prevent others from suffering.
There are other butchers out there and physicians defrauding taxpayers and Medicare / Medicaid. Hopefully at least one person reading this post will step forward.
[Update: Even after pleading guilty and later losing an appeal, years later, Fata is still preventing victims from accessing their compensation. What he is putting the victims should be a crime. Read our newest post on the Butcher of Detroit to lean more.]
Medicare Fraud and Whistleblower Awards
Under the federal False Claims Act, those who report fraud involving government funds or programs are entitled to a reward for their information. Those awards are generally between 15% and 30% of what the government collects
If you have information about greed and corruption in the healthcare field, call us. We can evaluate whether you have a case and if you do, further investigate your claims and file the lawsuit to collect the award. All inquiries are protected from the attorney – client privilege and are kept confidential. Please call us before the Farid Fata physicians of the world can harm anyone else.
Not ready to call? We have plenty of information on our text searchable blog and on our Medicare fraud page.
MahanyLaw – America’s Healthcare Fraud Lawyers
* Farid Fata Sentencing Allocution:
Your Honor, I stand before you so ashamed of my action. That’s for me, from a successful doctor who — who had excellent profile, to what I am today. I had a gift, and I violated the gift. It all went wrong. I cannot bring back the past.
What I am today is because of bad choices I took. I have violated the medical oath, and I have caused anguish, hardship and pain to my patients and their families. I do not know what else I can do to heal their wound. I do not know what to do more to express my sorrow and shame, and shame. I have accepted responsibility.
Yes, I have accepted responsibility and admitted I am wrong. I did not feel I deserved a trial. I did not want to bring my patients, the older ones most, to take the stand for a two-month trial. It’s brutal, no way.
I misused my talents. Yes, I misused my talents, and permitted the sin to enter me because of power and greed. Yes. My quest for power is self-destructive. And I quote this to any new doctor in this world coming: The quest for power is self-destructive.
I also grossly abused the trust that my patients placed in me. They came to me seeking compassion and care. I failed them. Yes, I failed them. I owe my family and my patients and their families, too, a deep-felt apology, a deep-felt apology from the bottom of my heart.
But an apology is not enough in this situation. It’s not enough.
Last Tuesday I cannot — I could not — I could not look my patients and their families — I was sitting there — because I was horribly ashamed of my conduct. I was horribly ashamed of my conduct. I have confessed my sins, and there are many.
The Lord is faithful and just to forgive my sins and to cleanse my soul from all unrighteousness. I pray for repentance, I do pray for repentance, and the right of redemption at some point in my life. Your Honor, I hold this Court to the highest degree of respect and integrity, and I ask the Court for mercy, even if I’m allowed any mercy anymore.
If — dear Lord, please accept my cry, accept shame to transform into hope and true salvation. Thank you.”