More charges filed against Fata

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published September 25, 2013

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Additional charges have been filed against township resident Farid Fata, currently facing charges of health care fraud. 

The latest charges — filed Sept. 18 by the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI and the Department of Health and Human Services — add 11 additional health care fraud counts, a count of conspiracy to receive and pay kickbacks and one count of naturalization fraud. Criminal forfeitures are also sought in the indictment.

Fata, 48, owns Michigan Hematology Oncology Center offices in Clarkston, Lapeer, Rochester Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Sterling Heights, Troy and Oak Park.

According to court documents, Fata allegedly submitted fraudulent claims for services that were not medically necessary — including claims for administering chemotherapy, immunoglobulin therapy and intravenous iron treatments to patients whose medical conditions did not support the treatments.

From August 2007 to July 2013, Medical Hematology Oncology Centers submitted approximately $225 million in claims to Medicare, of which approximately $109 million was for chemotherapy or other cancer-treatment drugs. Of the approximately $225 million, Medicare paid more than $91 million, of which more than $48 million was for chemotherapy or other cancer-treatment drugs, court documents state.

Fata is alleged to have submitted claims for years of medically unnecessary chemotherapy and cancer drug treatments for individuals who did not have cancer. One patient who did not have cancer received approximately 155 chemotherapy treatments over a period of approximately two and a half years, the documents state.

Fata’s attorney, Christopher Andreoff, said the weight of evidence against his client did not prove fraud during Fata’s arraignment in federal court in Detroit Aug. 8.

“The nature of the (medical) practice is that patients have serious illnesses,” Andreoff said.

The indictment also alleges that Fata engaged in a kickback scheme in exchange for service referrals, home health care services and hospice services. In addition, Fata is alleged to have procured his naturalization unlawfully with false statements.

Each of the health care fraud charges carry a maximum imprisonment term of 10 years, and the kickback conspiracy charge carries a maximum term of five years. Naturalization fraud carries a maximum term of 10 years, with the additional penalty that the certificate of naturalization is canceled.