Oncologist Charged in Superseding Indictment With Medically Unnecessary Cancer Treatments Scheme
Dr. Farid Fata was charged in a superseding indictment in the Eastern District of Michigan for a health care fraud scheme involving the administration of medically unnecessary drugs, including chemotherapy, announced the Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The superseding indictment adds eleven additional health care fraud counts, a count of conspiracy to receive and pay kickbacks as well as one count of naturalization fraud. Criminal forfeitures are also sought in the indictment.
According to court documents, Dr. Fata was the owner of Michigan Hematology Oncology, P.C. (MHO), a Michigan hematology and oncology practice that did business at multiple locations and billed multiple health care providers, including Medicare, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Health Alliance Plan and Aetna. Beginning in August 2007 and continuing through July 2013, Dr. Fata is alleged to have submitted or caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims for services that were not medically necessary, including claims for (a) administering chemotherapy and other cancer treatments to patients whose medical conditions did not support the treatments; (b) administering intravenous immunoglobulin therapy to patients whose medical conditions did not support the therapy; and (c) administering intravenous iron treatments to patients who were not iron deficient.
For Medicare alone, from in or around August 2007, through in or around July 2013, MHO submitted approximately $225 million in claims to Medicare, of which approximately $109 million was for chemotherapy or other cancer treatment drugs. Of the approximate $225 million, Medicare paid over $91 million, of which over $48 million was for chemotherapy or other cancer treatment drugs. Dr. Fata is alleged to have submitted and caused MHO to submit claims for years of medically unnecessary treatments including repeated and unnecessary chemotherapy and cancer drug treatments for individuals who did not, in fact, have cancer. One patient who did not have cancer received approximately 155 chemotherapy treatments over a period of approximately two and a half years.
The indictment also alleges that Dr. Fata engaged in a scheme to unlawfully enrich himself through the solicitation and receipt of kickbacks in exchange for the referral of services and arranging for the furnishing of services, including home health care services and hospice services.
In addition, Dr. Fata is alleged to have procured his naturalization unlawfully by falsely stating on his application for naturalization that he never committed a crime or offense for which he was not arrested when in fact Dr. Fata then well knew he had, as of March 10, 2008, committed crimes of health care fraud.
Upon conviction, each of the health care fraud counts carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years. The kickback conspiracy carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years. The naturalization fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, with the additional penalty that the order admitting the defendant to citizenship must be voided, and the certificate of naturalization must be cancelled.
Please contact the United States Attorney’s Office Victim Information Line at 888-702-0553 to access information relating to scheduled court events and procedures for requesting copies of patient files. Updates will be posted as information becomes available.
The case is being prosecuted by Fraud Section Assistant Chief Catherine K. Dick and Deputy Chief Gejaa T. Gobena, as well as Assistant United States Attorneys Wayne Pratt and Sarah Resnick Cohen. The investigations were conducted jointly by the FBI and HHS-OIG, as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan and the Criminal Division's Fraud Section.
Since its inception in March 2007, strike force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,330 defendants who collectively have billed the Medicare program for more than $4 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.
To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team, go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.