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Weinberger sentenced to 84 months in prison

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A judge on Friday rejected former Merrillville "nose doctor" Mark Weinberger’s request to be released from federal prison for time served and instead ordered him to spend almost another four years behind bars for fraud.

Chief Judge Philip Simon of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana in Hammond sentenced Weinberger to seven years in prison for 22 counts of health care benefit fraud to which Weinberger, 49, pleaded guilty. Weinberger already has spent about 37 months in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago.

The sentence exceeded the 37 to 46 months called for in federal sentencing guidelines, but Simon also considered Weinberger’s flight from the country as an enhancement, according to attorneys who were in court for the sentencing. The former ear, nose and throat doctor spent more than five years on the run after malpractice claims against him began to mount.

“I think that the judge considered the most important factor and that is something I’ve been living with for eight or nine years, and that is the mess he left in his wake,” said Cohen & Malad attorney David Cutshaw, who is part of a team of litigators representing 288 Weinberger malpractice clients.

Weinberger also will serve two years of supervised release and was ordered to pay about $108,000 in restitution.

Attorneys representing medical malpractice claims against Weinberger on Tuesday submitted a letter to the court that challenged claims in his sentencing memorandum in which he asked the court to be released for time served, as it fell within sentencing guidelines. The memorandum said “no credible evidence exists to indicate that Dr. Weinberger performed fraud in any other case other than the 22 cases for which he has been indicted and for which he had pled guilty.”

The letter in response said that assertion caused “great concern” because “of the 90 cases we have submitted to medical review panels, including the seven we have tried, we have yet to identify a single case in which Weinberger performed the ethmoid and sphenoid surgeries he billed for.”

Barry Rooth of Theodoros & Rooth P.C. in Merrillville, which also is involved in the bulk of malpractice litigation, said the letter aimed to give voice to victims whose cases weren’t considered in Weinberger’s criminal case.

“Our intent was to provide the prosecutor and the U.S. attorney with additional materials which we believe would increase the economic loss of similarly situated patients to a number that would constitute (sentence) enhancement,” Rooth said before sentencing Friday.

There are more than 350 medical malpractice claims against Weinberger, and his insurer recently won a default judgment against him because he has refused to answer questions in depositions. A federal judge is considering a request from the Indiana Patient Compensation Fund that a special master be appointed to handle the pool of Weinberger claims.

Rooth said patients would like to hear Weinberger at least acknowledge in depositions that he was their doctor, and he has vowed as a condition of his sentencing to answer questions about the cases against him.

“We’d love to hear what he has to say for himself,” Rooth said.
 

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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