Former Dr. Fata was convicted for administering unnecessary chemotherapy to patients in remission and made staff members to submit false claims to Medicare to collect up to $35 million in payments within a two year period before his arrest in 2013.
By H. Nelson Goodson
July 10, 2015
Detroit, Michigan – On Friday, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman sentenced former Dr. Farid Fata, 50, to 45 years in a federal prison for scamming Medicare and providing unnecessary painful cancer treatment to many patients and billed Medicare. In 2013, Fata of Oakland Township was charged with multiple counts of fraud in the U.S. Court of the Eastern District of Michigan stemming from filing false claims to collect up to $35 million from Medicare. Fata was indicted for giving “unnecessary chemotherapy to patients in remission” and then filed false claims with Medicare to collect millions. He allegedly gave unnecessary medical treatments to patients for cancer and hematalogy who didn’t need it, according to the criminal complaint.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office of Eastern Michigan reported that Fata owned and operated the Michigan Hematology Oncology (MHO) Centers, which had offices in Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, Lapeer, Sterling Heights, Troy and Oak Park. It was through MHO that former Dr. Fata allegedly submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare for medically unnecessary services, including chemotherapy treatments, Positron Emission Tomograph (PET) scans and a variety of cancer and hematology treatments for patients who did not need them. In the course of the scheme, Fata falsified and directed others to falsify documents. MHO billed Medicare for approximately $35 million dollars over a two-year period, approximately $25 million of which is attributable to Fata, according to the complaint.
The complaint further alleged that Fata directed the administration of unnecessary chemotherapy to patients in remission; deliberate misdiagnosis of patients as having cancer to justify unnecessary cancer treatment; administration of chemotherapy to end-of-life patients who will not benefit from the treatment; deliberate misdiagnosis of patients without cancer to justify expensive testing; fabrication of other diagnoses such as anemia and fatigue to justify unnecessary hematology treatments, and distribution of controlled substances to patients without medical necessity or are administered at dangerous levels.
Fata also directed that chemotherapy be administered to patients who had other serious medical conditions that required immediate treatment before he would permit them to go to the hospital. In one instance, a male patient fell down and hit his head when he came to MHO. Fata insisted that the patient receive his chemotherapy before he could be taken to the emergency room. MHO administered the chemotherapy, after which the patient was taken to the emergency room. The patient later died from his head injury. In the second instance, a patient came to MHO with extremely low sodium levels, which can be fatal. Fata again directed that the patient first receive chemotherapy before being taken to the emergency room. MHO administered the chemotherapy and the patient was taken to the emergency room and hospitalized.
The MHO website says that, Fata received a Bachelor of Science from Lebanese University in 1992. He completed his Internal Medicine Residency at Maimonides Medical Center, State University of New York, Brooklyn, NY, in 1996. Fata attended Cornell University Medical College, NY and completed his Hematology Oncology Fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1999.