Convicted cancer doctor Fata seeks new trial
A former Oakland County doctor serving 45 years in prison for giving chemotherapy to people who didn't have cancer and overtreating other patients wants his 2014 conviction tossed out, claiming he only pleaded guilty because his attorney advised him it would lead to a lighter sentence.
Farid Fata, 53, has filed papers in U.S. District Court proclaiming he always felt he was innocent and seeking a new trial. The Texas-based attorney who filed the papers, Jeremy Gordon, did not return a telephone call Tuesday.
According to filings, Fata said his attorney, Christopher A. Andreoff, convinced him his defense was doomed and it was in his best interests to plead guilty in hopes of obtaining mercy and a much lighter prison sentence.
"The idea of leniency and cooperation benefit was the catalyst that (my attorney) created to create a false glamour of not dying in federal prison," Fata wrote in a May 10 declaration statement filed this week in federal court. "Had I been properly advised ... I would not have pleaded guilty and instead proceeded to trial as I had always intended to do.
"My guilty pleas were not the result of my actually being guilty," Fata wrote. "From day one to the present, I have steadfastly maintained my innocence."
Andreoff rejected Fata's assertions Tuesday.
“I vehemently deny that I encouraged Dr. Fata into pleading guilty," he said. "Dr. Fata voluntarily and knowingly made the plea with knowledge of sentence guidelines and what it could mean.
"The case had been proceeding for 14 months, this was a long process, and he knew of every aspect of his defense, including witnesses and experts and their possible testimony," Andreoff said.
“We had been preparing for trial right up to before the plea and without going into attorney-client relations or detail of what went into the decision, it was a decision made by the client, Dr. Fata.”
Fata treated thousands of patients at several Metro Detroit locations. At one point, the U.S. Attorney's Office identified at least 553 victims they believed had been duped into taking unnecessary chemotherapy treatments.
He was arrested in 2013 for overbiling the government for unnecessary cancer and blood treatments and federal investigators seized many of his assets. In 2014, he pleaded guilty to obtaining more than $17 million in a dozen counts of Medicare and health care fraud, money laundering and a kickback conspiracy.
On July 10, 2015, he was sentenced to 45 years in prison. His earliest possible release is October 2052.