DETROIT – The U.S. government is requesting bond for the doctor at the center of multi-million dollar Medicare fraud be increased to $9 million
The request, which was filed in Federal Court Monday morning says:
Dr. Fata is a wealthy individual with vast resources at his disposal. He owns and operates numerous medical businesses, including Michigan Hematology-Oncology, P.C. (MHO), which is a hematology-oncology practice with multiple locations in Michigan, a pharmacy and a diagnostic center. Dr. Fata's solely-owned businesses received over $62 million from Medicare since August 1, 2010. Contrary to Dr. Fata's argument at prior hearings that he has access to funds only in the low six figures (the $170,000 that was set as the bond amount by Judge Grand), the government's investigation to date has revealed that Dr. Fata has in his or his wife's control over $9 million in assets not yet seized by the government that are either liquid or can be easily cashed out and used to engineer flight from this country should they not be used to secure his release.
Meantime, Dr. Fata's lawyer countered the request by saying:
Defendant appeals the amount of the $170,000 cash bond since Defendant does not current liquid assets to post the bond, and secondly, the Government has obtained seizure orders of most, if not all, personal and business liquid and non-liquid assets from local commercial banks and investment companies.
Defendant has no foreign bank or investment accounts, does not own a home in Lebanon, or anywhere else in the world, and has only traveled to Lebanon one time in the last twelve years.
Dr. Farid Fata has been in custody since last week.
The government says he ripped off Medicare for millions of dollars by giving chemotherapy to patients who didn't need it and diagnosing cancer when the illness wasn't apparent.
Detroit federal Judge Sean Cox is the third judge to look at the case. He said Friday he needs more information from both sides before holding a hearing Tuesday. Attorneys on both sides must have their paperwork filed with the court clerk by 10 a.m. Monday.
Defense attorney Christopher Andreoff said Fata is a U.S. citizen and not a flight risk.
Fata "does not own a home in Lebanon, and since 2001 only traveled to Lebanon one time ... to see his ill father, who is 80 and suffers from severe heart and liver disease," Andreoff said in a court filing. He said his client "has no foreign bank accounts or liquid assets other than those in Michigan which were seized by the government"
Fata owns Michigan Hematology Oncology, which has offices in Clarkston, Bloomfield Hills, Lapeer, Sterling Heights, Troy and Oak Park. The government says the clinics billed $35 million to Medicare over two years.
Fata made about $24.3 million in drug infusion billings directly to Medicare, "more than any hematologist/oncologist in the state of Michigan during that time period," FBI agent Brian Fairweather wrote in the criminal complaint.
The criminal complaint quotes co-workers and former employees as saying dozens of people passed through the office each day, although Dr. Farid Fata spent less than five minutes with each patient and hired doctors who may not have been properly licensed to practice medicine.
In one case, a patient fell and hit his head at Fata's clinic but was told he needed chemotherapy before he could be taken to a hospital, according to the FBI. The man later died from the head injury. His name was not disclosed.