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US oncologist faces life in prison for false cancer diagnoses

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g5738 (Published 19 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5738
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. 1Montreal

A Michigan oncologist who falsely diagnosed cancer in patients and gave them unnecessary chemotherapy so as to bill Medicare for millions of dollars faces up to 215 years of consecutive prison sentences after pleading guilty to 16 counts of healthcare fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering.

Farid Fata, 49, ran a cancer treatment clinic with seven offices in the Detroit area, Michigan Hematology Oncology, and a diagnostic testing facility, United Diagnostics. He billed the federal health insurance program Medicare for around $225m (£138m; €175m) between 2007 and his arrest in 2013, $91m of which was paid out.

Former patients and their relatives attended Detroit federal court this week expecting to hear Fata’s attorneys contesting a prosecution submission of emails related to a castle he inquired about buying in his native Lebanon. Instead they saw Fata …

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