WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Medicare fraud trial of a prominent Florida eye doctor tied to corruption charges against New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez wound toward its conclusion Tuesday with his lawyers portraying him as an innovative physician who didn't give up on his hard-to-treat patients.
Dr. Salomon Melgen is charged with 76 counts for allegedly stealing up to $105 million from Medicare between 2008 and 2013 by performing useless tests and procedures on elderly and disabled patients.
But Dr. Dana Deupree, testifying Tuesday for the defense, disagreed with the prosecution's contention. Going through numerous patient records, he testified that Melgen's treatments may have been the only hope many patients had for saving their sight. The Clearwater, Florida, ophthalmologist said that although some of the tests performed by Melgen and his staff could have been done better and that he might have performed different procedures, Melgen's work was medically sound.
Deupree, who is expected to be the final defense witness, testified that Melgen's attorneys have paid him $135,000 over several years to consult on this case and prior civil lawsuits.