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Weinberger seeks sentence of time served

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Former Merrillville ear, nose and throat doctor Mark Weinberger on Monday asked a federal court to sentence him to time served for the 22 counts of health care fraud to which he pleaded guilty.

Chief Judge Philip Simon of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in Hammond will sentence Weinberger on Friday. In a sentencing memorandum filed Monday, Weinberger’s attorney Visvaldis Kupsis said the sentencing guideline range is 30 to 37 months in prison. Weinberger already has served more than 33 months, and adjusted for good behavior, he’s earned credit for 39 months served, Kupsis wrote.

Previously, Weinberger pleaded guilty to the charges and agreed to serve a four-year sentence. A federal judge rejected that plea agreement as too lenient.

Weinberger, who ran a multi-million-dollar practice billing himself as “The Nose Doctor,” was arrested in December 2009 after authorities found him camped in snow in the Italian Alps. He fled as malpractice claims mounted and had been on the run for more than three years, during which he was charged.

Separately, Weinberger also is a defendant in lawsuits involving more than 350 medical malpractice claims that allege he performed unnecessary and sometimes damaging sinus surgeries.

The sentencing memorandum says there’s no evidence that Weinberger committed fraud other than in the instances for which he was charged, and it casts doubt on other claims against him.

“Much has been made in the press regarding Dr. Weinberger’s case and his notoriety exceeds that of most criminal defendants. Numerous civil complaints have been filed and one could speculate that many of those are a direct result of that notoriety,” Kupsis wrote. “Regardless, Dr. Weinberger has also been punished for any incidence of negligence through monetary judgments, as well as his loss of practice and inability to further engage in the trade for which he was trained. As a result, these alleged deeds carry their own form of punishment and should not be for the court to decide in this criminal forum.”

Last month, U.S. Judge Jon E. DeGuilio in Hammond entered a default judgment against Weinberger and related entities for noncooperation in the medical malpractice litigation.

Weinberger’s medical malpractice carrier, the Medical Assurance Company Inc., sought discovery sanctions against Weinberger for his constant refusal to answer questions during deposition. Weinberger repeatedly asserted the Fifth Amendment to all 344 questions, including those about his background and education. After a warning in 2011 from the court that refusal to provide substantive responses would result in severe sanctions, Weinberger and defendants said they would cooperate. However, the defendants continued to assert the Fifth Amendment to the amended discovery responses. The defendants claimed they would answer questions after Weinberger’s criminal trial wrapped up.

In his sentencing memorandum, Kupsis writes that Weinberger worked his way up from kitchen orderly to cook at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago. The document also shed light on Weinberger’s life behind bars.

“Weinberger has taken some pride in being able to continuously hold down a job which subjects itself to the potential for derision from inmates as well as presents a challenge to prepare satisfactory meals with limited resources and time. His responsibilities include organizing and serving every meal … to the eighty-eight (88) fellow inmates in his unit.

Kupsis characterized Weinberger’s kitchen orderly duty as one that “must have been a humiliating situation for him.”

The memorandum also says Weinberger has tutored inmates studying for GEDs and introduced  a yoga program. He also “developed a curriculum through the religious services program which teaches philosophies of non-violence and alternative solutions to problems.”





 

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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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