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Eye doctor loses appeal in fraud case

An eye doctor in Florida will spend more time behind bars as the 11th Circuit Court decided to uphold his conviction for Medicare fraud. The three judges hearing the appeal did not agree with the ophthalmologist’s assertion that he did not get a fair shake during the original trial.

The panel decided on July 31 that the handling of the 67-count fraud case launched against the ophthalmologist was appropriate. Panel members concluded the 17-year sentence the doctor received was just. The opinion of the three judges is that the judge issuing the original sentence displayed a bit of leniency due to the doctor’s lack of a prior criminal record and advanced age.

The eye doctor received the original conviction for running a billing fraud scheme in April 2017. Prosecutors allege the doctor routinely administered invasive treatments that proved unnecessary. The ophthalmologist also profited from unnecessary prescriptions for a drug to treat macular degeneration.

The lawyer handling the appeal for the Dominican-born doctor argued that a witness for the prosecution harassed a witness for the defense repeatedly during court breaks. One specific claim is that the prosecution witness sought to intimidate the defense witness in a parking lot with threats of ruining his reputation if the witness followed through with his testimony. Ultimately, the United States Circuit Court found that the appellate and his attorney failed to demonstrate the witness interaction directly affected the outcome of the original trial.

Someone who has been charged with fraud could face a complex legal battle. These cases not only place the defendant at risk for incarceration, but they can also result in irreparable damage to both personal and business reputations. If you need to defend yourself against allegations of fraud, consider speaking with a criminal defense attorney.

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