Not enough for all the grief he caused, IMHO Fuck this guy, let him rot!
Cancer doctor gets 45 years for 'huge, horrific' crimes
(Photo: Todd McInturf / The Detroit News)
Detroit — Once-popular local oncologist Dr. Farid Fata was sentenced Friday to 45 years in prison for a complex Medicare fraud scheme in which he gave cancer patients overly aggressive doses of chemotherapy while treating others with the powerful drug for cancers they did not have.
In handing down Fata's sentence Friday, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman cited the disgraced cancer specialist's abuse of patient trust.
"This is a huge, horrific series of criminal acts committed by the defendant," Borman said before sentencing Fata. He called Fata's actions "horrific and unprecedented" and said he abused patients' trust to maximize profit.
Fata's sentencing caps a two-year investigation into his medical treatment plans and practice in which he billed Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield for millions of dollars by having some of his patients get expensive cancer drugs and other treatments he could bill the health insurance providers for thousands of dollars. His scheme, say prosecutors, also involved getting kickbacks for referring patients to a selected hospice program.
Federal prosecutors and attorneys for Fata, 50, agreed that 553 patients may have been the victims of medical mistreatment with U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade saying Fata "sized up" patients as potential money makers for himself.
Dr. Farid Fata (Photo: MHO)
"Dr. Fata pounced on every opportunity to use a patient's body as a profit center," said McQuade during a news conference after the sentencing. "Dr. Fata did not care for patients: he exploited them as commodities. He over-treated, under-treated and outright lied to patients about whether they had cancer so that he could maximize his own profits."
Victims and family say sentence is not enough.
In court earlier, Fata spoke tearfully, saying, "I stand before you ashamed of my actions ... it all went wrong. I cannot bring back the past. My quest for power is self destructive."
"I pray for redemption ... I ask the court for mercy," Fata said. "They (patients) came to me seeking compassion and care ... I failed them."
Patients and family members gathered outside the courtroom expressed disappointment in the sentence and said they felt justice had not been served. They had worn yellow clothing to express "happiness" that they would get closure for the pain and suffering they and their loved ones experienced.
U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan and her team of prosecutors discuss the Fata case after his sentencing on Friday. (Photo: John T. Greilick / The Detroit News)
"We were hoping for more, but we'll take what we can get," said Theresa McCallum, whose father was treated by Fata. She and her mother, along with others outside court, wore yellow Friday, a look of sunshine Fata won't be seeing for a while, McCallum said.
"We came here hoping for a maximum sentence today and what we saw was substantially less," said Jeff Berz, whose father was treated by Fata for acute leukemia. "We came here for closure today and I don't feel we got that closure."
Berz said he worries the sentence will create an "open season" for other doctors to commit similar fraud.
"Do I think that justice has been served today? No, I don't," Berz said. "I'm glad he's incarcerated ... but I don't feel good about the verdict. I was hoping he'd receive the maximum.
"I can go home, I can hug my kids, my granddaughter ... Dr. Fata's not going to do that. It does make it somewhat better to know he's going to be in a cell while I'm out enjoying my life."
"They should have put him away for life," said Sue Lane, whose husband, Ronnie, died in 2010 of lung cancer after being treated by Fata.
Robert Sobieray, a retired auto plant supervisor who was treated by Fata for a cancer he never had, wasdisappointed with the sentence.
"My heart just dropped," said Sobieray outside the courthouse. "I've got to live with this (neuropathy and deteriorating gums) the rest of my life. He'll probably live longer than me."
Sobieray walks with a cane and has one tooth left because of the side effects of the cancer drugs he was given.
Maggie Dorsey, another former patient, said, "I don't know how I feel" as she walked away from the federal courthouse seemingly in disbelief. Asked about Fata's teary plea for leniency, she replied, "I'm not impressed."
A restitution hearing will come soon, Borman said after the sentencing, although the idea of financial restitution was little interest to some of those outside the court.
"I didn't ask to be a victim," said Patty Hester, who was treated by Fata for three years. "I didn't ask to be a guinea pig."
McQuade, who lost her own father to cancer, called Fata's actions "egregious" adding that "nothing short of a life sentence is appropriate in this case."
"This case is about the patients victimized by Dr. Fata," said McQuade, who was joined at the Friday news conference at her office with FBI agents, federal prosecutors and other federal investigators who worked on the Fata case. "Dr. Fata gave poison to (patients) who didn't have cancer to make money."
Fata, who pleaded guilty to 16 counts in the case last September to health care fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to give or receive kickbacks in the case, agreed to give up $17.6 million in cash as part of his sentencing. He also is forfeiting property, life insurance policies, interest in investments and "numerous" other assets, a federal prosecutor said Thursday.
McQuade said the issue of restitution for the patients, family members and the whistle -blowers who alerted authorities of what Fata was doing will have to still be worked out by Borman.
Fata is accused of an elaborate scheme to bilk Medicare and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of $34 million. He received $17.6 million of the money he billed for.
Fata had cancer centers in Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, Lapeer, Sterling Heights, Troy and Oak Park.
McQuade said Fata is not eligible for parole or a reduced sentence. Except for a small amount of time being taken off his 45-year sentence for good behavior, he will serve most of it.