LANSING (WWJ) – A federal judge is being asked to help the victims of a rogue cancer doctor get more in restitution, or at least get the same treatment as insurance companies.
The government has taken money from convicted doctor Farid Fata — who pleaded guilty to fraud, money laundering and conspiracy — and devised a plan where his victims can get reimbursed for their out-of-pocket expenses. But the way the plan is constituted now, that will not happen, according to Attorney Jules Olsman, who filed a court action on behalf of Fata’s victims.READ MORE: Michigan Matters: Where are the Female CEOs in Michigan?
“Our goal here is to prevent the victims of Dr. Fata from being injured twice — once by him and now by the government,” he said.
Olsman says the current plan favors insurance companies, like Blue Cross, and government-run Medicare, which are in line to be paid first before the victims.
“This is just like going to the movies where somebody jumps in front of you,” Olsman told WWJ’s Charlie Langton. “Medicare, under federal law, is a victim of Dr. Fata. They have to get in line along with every other victim, they don’t have any greater rights than anybody else.”
Many patients who were told they had cancer went through excessive chemotherapy — treatments that wrecked their health and in some instances weren’t even necessary. The government has identified 553 victims, along with insurance companies, but only 43 cases in Oakland County are eligible to collect restitution, according to Olsman.MSU Police: Tip From Private Investigator Led To Discovery Of Body Believed To Be Brendan Santo
“Out of all the victims of Dr. Fata, there were only so many who could get past all the issued involved in bringing a malpractice case in Michigan,” he said.
Medicare and insurers paid at least $17 million, and the amount of restitution available for victims is estimated to be anywhere from $10 to $15 million.
“The issue isn’t just how you split it up, but how you split it up fairly,” said Olsman. “Medicare, if they want their money back, they’re not going to get it back from the victims, they should get it back from the Fata restitution plan. That’s all we’re asking from the judge, is you treat our clients just the way Medicare wants to be treated. Medicare doesn’t get to take cuts in line, and that’s what they’re trying to do.”
Fata, who acknowledged that he was motivated by greed, was sentenced to 45 years in prison after pleading guilty in 2014 to fraud, money laundering and conspiracy. A native of Lebanon, Fata owned and operated Michigan Hematology Oncology Centers with offices in Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, Lapeer, Sterling Heights, Troy and Oak Park.
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