Michigan oncologist who gave unnecessary chemotherapy to over 500 patients -- some of whom did not have cancer -- and pocketed millions from insurers was sentenced to 45 years in jail Friday. The effects of the intensive chemotherapy reportedly left the patients with brittle bones and fried organs.
Dr. Farid Fata, a Detroit-based cancer doctor, pled guilty in September 2014 to 16 counts of healthcare fraud, money laundering and conspiracy that involved bribery. Prosecutor Catherine Dick had reportedly asked for 175 years of imprisonment for Fata.
While sentencing Fata -- who had sought 25 years -- U.S. District Judge Paul Borman said that Fata "shut down whatever compassion he had as a doctor and switched it to making money” and called his actions "huge, horrific series of criminal acts," the Associated Press (AP) reported.
"I misused my talents, yes, and permitted this sin to enter me because of power and greed," Fata, who was arrested in August 2013, told the court Friday, CBS News reported. "My quest for power is self-destructive," he said, adding that his patients came to him seeking "compassionate care" but "I failed, yes, I failed."
For over two years, Fata submitted $24.3 million in Medicare bills, more than any other hematologist or oncologist in Michigan, according to a criminal complaint filed in August 2013. His office billed Medicare for about $109 million between August 2007 and July 2013 for treating about 553 patients. "He preyed on our trust, our exhaustion, our fears," said Ellen Piligiam, whose late father, a doctor, was given powerful drugs he did not require for his shoulder tumor, the AP reported.
The 50-year-old oncologist's fraud came to light when Dr. Soe Maunglay, a former employee of Fata's, notified a senior about the malpractice, following which Fata was reportedly arrested. "I think he's guilty of the most cruel thing a human being can do to another human being," Maunglay said, according to CBS.