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Cancer doc Fata won't leave prison early amid pandemic, judge says

Robert Snell
The Detroit News

Detroit — A federal judge Friday refused to reduce the 45-year sentence of disgraced cancer doctor Farid Fata, who sought compassionate release due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fata, 55, of Rochester Hills, who prescribed chemotherapy to cancer-free patients, will remain at a South Carolina federal prison, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman wrote in an order after considering objections from victims and the government.

Farid Fata

The oncologist/hematologist did not deserve to be released during the pandemic in a move that would have shortened his sentence by almost 40 years, the judge wrote.

"Fata’s underlying criminal conduct demonstrates a total lack of compassion for his many victims over the years," Borman wrote. "...Significantly reducing his sentence would unjustifiably mitigate the nature and circumstances of his horrific offenses committed on human victims, undermine respect for the law, not result in a just sentence, undermine the deterrence factor of his criminal conduct, and finally, given his prior misconduct, not protect the public from his potential for further criminal activity if released."

The Rochester Hills doctor was the latest among high-profile felons seeking release from federal prison as officials seek to stem the spread of a virus that, according to federal statistics, has killed at least 94 inmates and one staffer, and infected 2,914 prisoners and staff.

Fata suffers from several "debilitating medical conditions," his lawyer wrote. They include Type-2 diabetes, gastrointestinal bleeding and early dementia.

Since late March, federal prison officials have released 6,853 inmates on home confinement in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Fata was sentenced in 2015 for orchestrating a wide-ranging Medicare and insurance fraud.

He bilked Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Medicare of about $34 million by prescribing chemotherapy to cancer-free patients while over-medicating others at his five Detroit-area hematology and oncology clinics.

"Rather than healing or easing the suffering of cancer and hematology patients who sought his help, Farid Fata poisoned his patients for profit," Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah Resnick Cohen wrote in opposing the doctor's release.

The request for compassionate release was Fata's most recent attempt to leave prison. Last year, he sought to have his guilty plea withdrawn, arguing he was misled about the likely sentence.

In February, his prison warden refused to grant compassionate release.

rsnell@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @robertsnellnews