A protest was held against Dr. Farid Fata outside the federal court house in Detroit on Wednesday. (David Coates / The Detroit News)
Detroit— Indicted cancer doctor Farid Fata will remain behind bars after a federal judge Wednesday revoked his $9 million bond and instead ordered the oncologist jailed until the start of his trial in early February.
The Oakland Township doctor, who has been in custody since early August on multiple counts of Medicare fraud, appeared for a bond hearing Wednesday in U.S. District Court, where Judge Paul Borman denied Fata’s attorneys’ request to have his bond lowered to $500,000.
Borman said Fata had the “motive and the means to flee” to his native Lebanon. Outside the courtroom, former patients who had earlier gathered for a protest outside the federal courthouse, hugged each other and cheered the judge’s decision.
Fata, the owner of Michigan Hematology Oncology P.C., which has offices in Rochester Hills and six other locations, including Bloomfield Hills and Oak Park, is charged with submitting false and fraudulent claims for medical treatments that were not medically necessary.
Among the allegations: Fata administered chemotherapy and other cancer treatments to patients who didn’t need them. He also is accused of engaging “in a scheme to unlawfully enrich himself” by soliciting and receiving kickbacks in exchange for referring patients for home health care and hospice services.
The federal charges, filed last month, allege that from August 2007 to July 2013, Fata’s HMO practice billed Medicare around $225 million, of which $109 million was for chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. Of the approximately $225 million, Medicare paid more than $91 million to Fata’s medical practice.
Southfield attorney Christopher Andreoff, Fata’s co-counsel, said it is difficult for him and his client to prepare for trial due to restrictive prison visitation hours and lack of access to patient records and electronic files.
“This is an atypical case,” pleaded Andreoff on Wednesday. “I need my client to be out so that he can review these patients files and electronic records.”
Protesters held signs that read “Jail Not Bail Death Doctor” and “No bond no release for Dr. Fatal.”
Karen Baldwin of White Lake Township said she was glad the high bond remained and Fata will remain jailed until the start of the trial.
“If he got into Lebanon, we’d never find him,” said Baldwin, whose late husband was a patient of Fata.