WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Closing arguments are scheduled in the sentencing hearing of a politically connected Florida eye doctor convicted of stealing $100 million from Medicare, one of the largest individual thefts in the program’s history.
Prosecutors are expected to argue Thursday that Dr. Salomon Melgen deserves a 30-year sentence for convincing mostly elderly patients to undergo painful tests and treatments for diseases they didn’t have.
Melgen’s attorneys will push for less than 10 years, saying the government’s estimate of the amount stolen is exaggerated and the doctor’s crimes were honest mistakes.
U.S District Judge Kenneth Marra could give Melgen a life sentence but has wide discretion. Marra indicated Wednesday that he might not sentence Melgen immediately because he might need time to think.
Melgen is separately charged with bribing New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez.
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