Home > Managing Debt > Doctor Pleads Guilty to Fraud After Prescribing Unnecessary Chemotherapy

Comments 1 Comment

No matter the outcome, there’s no happy ending to a story that involves a doctor putting cancer patients through unnecessary, grueling treatments for his own benefit. In Michigan, a doctor accused of doing just that pleaded guilty Sept. 16 to health care fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to defraud the government, but Dr. Farid Fata’s downfall is probably little comfort to his former patients.

The complaint filed against Fata is an unpleasant read. Fata ran Michigan Hematology Oncology Pharmacy Services and is said to have decided the diagnoses and treatments for all of the many patients who passed through his office doors. For patients in remission, he allegedly prescribed large doses of what he called maintenance chemotherapy, and terminal patients apparently underwent chemotherapy that had no hope of improving their prognosis.

According to the complaint, witnesses said Fata worked with a high volume of patients, ordered large doses of treatment and possibly used unlicensed doctors to handle his massive workload. In one example, a nurse who previously worked at a hospital with a larger team of doctors said she typically saw two or three patients come in for a particular cancer treatment each month, but while working with Fata, she saw 50 patients a month coming in for that treatment. Fata apparently only spent 2 to 3 minutes with each patient.

If you’re wondering about the point of all this, an operation on this scale likely netted Fata a great deal of money: The doctor had multiple oncology offices, which submitted Medicare claims totaling about $109 million between August 2007 and July 2013, MLive Detroit reported.

Fata pleaded guilty to 13 counts of health care fraud, two counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to defraud the government. He has not yet been sentenced.

Financial Difficulties Add to Stress

As if dealing with the emotional stress of a cancer diagnosis isn’t enough, there’s the heavy financial burden most patients endure. Cancer treatments are expensive, and Fata seems to have churned through patients and chemotherapy at an alarming rate. A majority (62%) of cancer survivors incur medical debt because of treatment, and about one-third of survivors require financial assistance to cover their medical costs, according to a report from Washington National Institute for Wellness Solutions.

That financial struggle often manifests in the form of debt collection accounts, which have a negative impact on your credit standing, not to mention how confusing they can be for consumers to resolve. Ideally, you’re not paying for medical care you don’t need and you have some savings to help you cover unexpected health care expenses, but if you’re one of millions of Americans with medical collection accounts, there are ways to emerge from debt. No matter the path you take to financial freedom, regularly check your credit reports and credit scores to make sure you’re making the progress you expect and that your debt repayment has been properly reported to the three main credit bureaus. You’re entitled to your free annual credit reports, and you can see two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

More on Managing Debt:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Lynn

    He plead guilty on Sept. 16, 2014.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team