Oncologist charged with fraud freed, government loses appeal

Doctor charged with defrauding Medicare out of millions

By Paula Tutman - Reporter

DETROIT - An unusual federal detention hearing for a Detroit-area oncologist charged with defrauding Medicare out of millions ended with a magistrate granting him bond.

Federal prosecutors immediately appealed the ruling, but lost their appeal to keep Dr. Farid Fata in custody. Sources told Local 4 that Fata will not be released Thursday night.

Judge David Grand, a rookie Federal Magistrate ran an unusual bond hearing for Fata.  He encouraged un-sworn testimony from family members who felt victimized by the cancer doctor to give a brief statement during a bond hearing today.

He said under Victim Rights, they had a right to speak.  It was a highly unusual move that took the Federal court by surprise.  He even allowed Dr. Fata to say a few words.

Six bereaved and anxious family members stood at the podium to speak to tell Judge Grand that they believed Fata had caused the death of their loved one.

The Government says Dr. Fata deliberately poisoned patients for profit and with his practice with numerous offices in Metro Detroit, including his main office Michigan Hematology-Oncology bilked Medicare out of millions of dollars in false claims and made up illnesses.  In the last three years he billed Medicaid for more than 110 million dollars, but only received 65-million.  The government also made the case that Fata is a flight risk with more than 40-million in assets, 14-million of which are immediately liquefiable and 4-million the Feds are still looking for.

But Fata's attorney surrendered the physicians expired enhanced passport and current US passport and argued that Fata and his wife Samara only have about 1.2 million in assets and the physician stands to lose more if he tries to flee.

Judge Grand declared the Government had not made its case that the physician was a flight risk.  Even with all of his charges, he only faces about ten years in jail if convicted sans any other charges and that the physician could go free on a conditional bond that includes, surrendering his enhanced driver's license, he cannot practice medicine or write prescriptions.

The Government immediately appealed to a District judge, but lost their appeal to keep Fata in custody. Officials said they will work out the conditions of his release Friday morning.

Fata's bond was set at $170,000.

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