Another scummy doctor-friend of rich and powerful East coast politicians was sentenced yesterday to 17 years in federal prison. So the New Year starts out where the old year left off - jaw-dropping physician crime.
Doctor Salomon Melgen, who immigrated to the United States from Latin America and lived in a Palm Beach County mansion, was convicted of stealing nearly $73,000,000 from Medicare and many other medical insurance payers over decades.
Melgen, age 63, was an eye specialist crook who came to Florida from the Dominican Republic and was able to amass stunning wealth by pilfering and plundering America's healthcare system and injuring thousands of American elderly in the process.
Come to America. What a country.
Federal investigators were eventually able to prove that Melgen was a big-time crook, and he was convicted last April on 67 felony charges of Healthcare Fraud, including False Diagnoses and lying to a stunning number of elderly patients, telling them they suffered from "macular degeneration" so that he could amass millions of fraudulent dollars.
To appreciate the sheer evil of this particular Third World Assassin, one need look no further into his case than to recognize that - as a "retinal eye specialist" - the man mastered the appalling routine of sticking needles into the eyes of patients for no valid medical reason.
"The poor patients trusted what the doctor told them - namely that they would go blind if they didn't undergo the procedures."
In addition to billing for illegal treatments, Melgen raked in even more cash by what is known in medicine as "multi-dosing". For example, one medication used by eye specialists is called Lucentis, which is to be administered one vial per patient - at a cost of $2,000. Melgen would ration a vial’s contents among 4 different patients, then charge the patients' insurance $2,000 for each - pocketing $6,000 per vial.
At Melgen's sentencing, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra also ordered the medical madman to repay $42,000,000 in restitution to the national health insurance program, Medicare. The prosecution called Melgen’s clinic scam one of the worst fraud cases in history. They continue to seek additional restitution for Melgen’s patients who paid cash for the unnecessary procedures. He performed thousands of illegal "treatments" at his clinics in Port St. Lucie, Delray Beach and West Palm Beach.
The shamed physician showed very little emotion when hearing his sentence. According to his attorney, Melgen's family is “shell-shocked.”
“The reprehensible conduct of Salomon Melgen is a disgrace to the medical profession,” Robert Lasky, Miami’s FBI office, said. “Not satisfied with being a successful ophthalmologist committed to treating his patients’ legitimate medical conditions, Melgen devised a scheme to enrich himself by defrauding Medicare and other programs of tens of millions of dollars.”