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Judge rejects plea for former physician

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

U.S. Judge Philip Simon in the Northern District of Indiana rejected a plea agreement on April 27 for former physician Mark Weinberger, who faces at least 22 criminal counts of billing insurers and patients for procedures he didn’t perform.

The District’s chief judge set aside the plea agreement that would have bound him to sentence the doctor to four years in prison, rather than a sentence coming closer to the maximum on all charges totaling more than 200 years. Judge Simon said he wasn’t confident the deal took into full account the scope of the criminal conduct Weinberger engaged in, which prosecutors say totals about $318,000 in damages.

Weinberger is accused of billing fraud that took place between November 2002 and September 2004, while he was running the Merrillville Center for Advanced Surgery LLC and Nose and Sinus Center LLC. Some concerns about potential malpractice began surfacing toward the end of that period when one patient died in September 2004. Days later, the doctor disappeared during a family trip to Greece, and he was on the run for more than five years.

Claims from former patients mounted and the sinus specialist was featured on the television show “America’s Most Wanted.” He was eventually found hiding in a tent about 6,000 feet above sea level in the Italian Alps. He stabbed himself in the neck with a knife before finally being extradited from Italy to the United States on federal criminal health care fraud charges in December 2009.

While he faced 22 federal criminal counts of billing fraud, Weinberger has also been battling hundreds of medical malpractice claims filed against him and $5.7 million in creditor claims.

Federal court docket records show that many of Weinberger’s former patients urged Judge Simon to reject the plea deal they described as being too lenient.

A status hearing is set for May 12.
 

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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