In a rather disconcerting finding, Dr. Farid Fata, a Detroit-based hematologist-oncologist was on Friday sentenced to 45 years in prison. He has been charged with duping patients into taking cancer medicines, even when they were not suffering from the deadly ailment.
Farid Fata (50) was implicated for wrongly diagnosing patients of a terminal blood cancer called multiple myeloma, in September. According to the charges filed against him, close to 553 patients received medically unnecessary infusions or injections from him.
The US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan held him guilty on 13 counts of Medicare fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks and two counts of money laundering. In fact, the federal prosecutors came down heavily on him saying that patients to him were not people, they merely were profit centers. They called him the most flagrant fraudster in the history of the country.
While in court for the trial, Fata apologized to his patients after his sentence. He said, "The quest for power is self-destructive. They came to me seeking compassion and care. I failed. Yes, I failed". However, this apology seemed anything but hollow for the audacity he had shown by playing with innocent lives. Many of the victims would live with the effects of his unnecessary treatments for the rest of their lives.
Fata has forfeited $17.6 million that he collected from Medicare and private insurance companies. Some of his former patients have a chance to file claims and possibly be awarded some of these funds.