Federal prosecutors allege in an 86-page court memorandum filed this past week that Dr. Farid Fata, the oncologist who has pleaded guilty to giving unnecessary treatments to patients and defrauding Medicare, lied to his own nurses when they challenged him.
Federal prosecutors, who say in the court document that Fata "ordered his patients poisoned for money," recommend life in prison at sentencing July 6. The cancer doctor, who pleaded guilty last fall, is behind bars.
Based on an 86-page U.S. Justice Department document, Detroit News columnist Laura Berman writes:
His web of documented lies and deceit included lying to his nurses when they challenged him about his overuse of Rituximab, a cancer drug. Fata told patients and nurses that he followed a "French" or "European" protocol, "which they could never locate through their own approach" — and which prosecutors say never existed. They contend that Fata fabricated a study purportedly done at Bon Secours/Cottage Health Services in 2006 to justify the treatments, which caused his patient victims chronic pain, anxiety and other symptoms.
Fata's cruelties included treating patients for cancer until they died, robbing them of opportunities to make end-of-life choices, resolve issues with their families or otherwise face their impending deaths with dignity and self-awareness, prosecutors said. Nurses and social workers in the practice reported he told new cancer patients they had a 70 percent chance of remission, regardless of the medical facts. "Fata would say he was giving those patients hope," according to the sentencing memo
Berman writes that prosecutors allege that Fata victimized 553 patients and ordered at least 9,000 medically unnecessary infusions or injections, including chemotherapy for people who did not have cancer.
Last September, Fata, a married father of three, pleaded guilty to 13 counts of health care fraud, two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks. He also admitted in court to giving unnecessary treatments.
Authorities said that Fata submitted approximately $225 million in claims to Medicare between August 2007 and July 2013. In the end, Medicare paid out more than $91 million to Fata, of which over $48 million was for chemotherapy and other cancer treatments.
Fata operated a cancer treatment clinic, Michigan Hematology Oncology, with offices in Rochester Hills, Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, Lapeer, Sterling Heights, Troy and Oak Park. He also owned United Diagnostics, a testing site in Rochester Hills.