August 27, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Agent: Doctor accused of Medicare fraud planned to buy $3M castle

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Detroit— A doctor accused of purposely misdiagnosing patients with cancer and reaping millions of dollarsfrom Medicare for their treatment was interested in spending some of the illicit cash on a $3 million castle overlooking a seaside resort area in Lebanon, according to an FBI agent.

The allegation is contained in a search warrant affidavit unsealed in federal court and obtained by The Detroit News. The search warrant was executed in November and sought the contents of Dr. Farid Fata’s email account, which the FBI alleged the Oakland Township resident used with the help of a financial adviser to manage his money, including cash from an alleged health care fraud scheme.

The FBI wanted the doctor’s Hotmail account to trace tens of millions of dollars that flowed through various Fata-related entities, according to the search warrant.

FBI Special Agent Bryan Drake focused on an August 2010 email exchange between Fata and his financial adviser that mentioned a castle overlooking the coastal city of Jounieh. The subject line read “URGENT!!!!!”

“I need a favor from you,” Fata wrote. “My dad has a great deal on a castle all furnished in Adma/Lebanon! ... Can you pls get in contact with my dad and go see the house! It is for $3,000000...Let me know if you can see the house. What is the economic benefit and the housing market in Adma? Is there an economical value in investing in such house?”

Fata also asked if he could tap one of his numerous trusts to pay for the castle.

“Can this be funded from Fata Foundation?” he wrote, according to the search warrant. “Pls advise!”

The email is among evidence Fata wants to shield from jurors during a trial starting Oct. 14 in federal court.

It is unclear whether Fata invested in the castle. The U.S. Attorney’s Office declined comment, and Fata’s defense lawyer Christopher Andreoff could not be reached for comment immediately Wednesday.

The castle is not listed among cash and property the government wants forfeited if Fata is convicted. The property includes a 6,000-square-foot Oakland Township mansion Fata bought for $1.5 million.

Fata, 49, has been held at a federal prison in Milan for the past year after his $9 million bond was revoked. If convicted, he faces 10 years in prison.

Former Fata patient Patricia Gresko, a retired Romeo public school employee, said the castle allegation is sad. “To me, it’s simple greed,” Gresko, 71, said Wednesday. “It’s sad that somebody puts their whole life trying to get more and more and more and are never satisfied.”

Federal investigators alleged that from August 2007 to July 2013 Fata’s health maintenance organization practice billed Medicare for 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. Many of the treatments, government attorneys charge, were administered to patients who did not even have cancer.

rsnell@detroitnews.com
Staff Writer Oralandar Brand-Williams contributed.

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