Metro Detroit Cancer Doctor's Guilty Plea To Fraud Should Stand, Judge Says

WWJ News
February 07, 2020 - 6:33 pm
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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A Detroit-area doctor sentenced to 45 years in prison for putting hundreds of cancer patients through needless treatments should not be allowed to withdraw his 2014 guilty plea, a judge said Friday.

Farid Fata insists he got bad advice from his lawyer and was assured he’d get a shorter sentence if he pleaded guilty to fraud and cooperated with the government. But prosecutors didn’t seek his cooperation, and he didn’t get a break.

Fata’s lawyer denied telling him that he could get a 20-year prison sentence.

“Fata, knowing his receipt of any cooperation credit was uncertain, pleaded guilty for many reasons, including: the evidence against him was overwhelming; he knew he would receive a life sentence if convicted at trial; he wanted to save his patients from having to testify at trial and from enduring a lengthy and ‘brutal’ trial,” U.S. Magistrate Judge David Grand said.

Fata was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in 2015, and Borman had assigned Fata’s request to Grand for a report and recommendation.

In a sentencing memorandum, the U.S. Attorney’s Office called Fata “the most egregious fraudster in the history of the country, measured not only by the millions of dollars he stole but by the harm he inflicted on his victims.”

Some of Fata’s patients were allegedly exposed to powerful drugs over and over, despite having no cancer. In a 2013 indictment, prosecutors said Fata gave one particular patient 155 chemo treatments over two-and-a-half years — even though the patient was cancer-free.

The government said there were 553 patient victims in total, along with Medicare and insurers, and 9,000 unnecessary infusions or injections were given.

Fata, a native of Lebanon, owned and operated Michigan Hematology Oncology Centers with offices in Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, Lapeer, Sterling Heights, Troy and Oak Park. His medical license has been revoked.