Dr. Farid Fata, the cancer doctor who scammed hundreds of patients by telling them they have cancer and giving them chemotherapy so he could get large profits, was sentenced to 45 years in prison Friday.
U.S. District Judge Paul Borman said the 50-year-old's crimes were "huge" and "horrific," NBC News reported.
Fata's former patients went to court for the sentencing wearing yellow for solidarity and to symbolize the final day that the doctor would see the sun outside of prison. When the sentence was given, they were disappointed.
"They should have put him away for life," said Sue Lane, wife of a former patient who died of lung cancer in 2010 after receiving treatment from Fata, The Detroit News reported.
Fata was silent during the week-long hearing and did not even look at this patients as they took the stand and testified, but on Friday, he broke that silence before the judge pronounced his sentence. Fata apologized to his victims with tears, saying he was "ashamed of his actions."
"My sins are many," he confessed in court while also asking mercy from the judge, according to NBC News.
"My quest for power is self-destructive," he said. "I pray for redemption. I ask the court for mercy. They came to me seeking compassion and care. I failed them," he pleaded with sobs, according to The Detroit News.
However, his patients were not moved by his unexpected display of emotion.
"Do I think that justice has been served today? No, I don't," said Jeff Berz, who's father was treated by Fata for acute leukemia. "I'm glad he's incarcerated, but I don't feel good about the verdict. I was hoping he'd receive the maximum."
Robert Sobieray, who lost his teeth for the treatment of a cancer he never had, was similarly disappointed with the 45-year sentence.
"My heart just dropped," he said. "I've got to live with this the rest of my life. He'll probably live longer than me," he added, according to The Detroit News.
"It's a lifetime sentence for the rest of us," Monica Flagg, another former patient, said, Fox News reported.
Flagg was under the care of Fata for cancer when she broke her leg in 2013. Dr. Soe Maunglay, who worked at Fata's clinic, examined her leg and discovered she had no cancer. Maunglay told her to find another doctor. He also informed George Karadsheh, Fata's office manager, about his discovery. Karadsheh then alerted the FBI, and Fata was arrested days later.
Authorities were likewise dissatisfied with the judge's 45-year sentence on Fata, but they felt the sentence would put him behind bars for most, if not all, of his life.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade said Fata's case was the "most serious fraud case in the history of the country," adding that the doctor "gave poison to these people not to keep them alive but to make money." McQuade said she had not encountered any previous case with the same "stunning physical harm" that she saw in Fata's case, according to NBC News.
Federal prosecutors identified 553 patients that fell victim to Fata's medical mistreatment. Fata's Michigan Hematology and Oncology was the largest private cancer practice in Michigan. It had 1,700 patients from clinics in seven cities, as well as an in-house pharmacy and diagnostic center.
Fata's scheme included billing Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield millions of dollars for the treatment of his patients. He also got referral kickbacks whenever he referred patients to a hospice program.
The cancer doctor will get credit for time served since his 2013 arrest. His 45-year sentence may also shorten if he displayed good behavior, but he is ineligible for parole.
Forty lawsuits against Fata are pending in Oakland County Circuit Court.
"I will relish the opportunity to depose Dr. Fata on behalf of my clients," said attorney Brian McKeen, who represented a number of Fata's patients, The Detroit News reported. "We will not be satisfied until he and the others responsible for this mass tragedy have been made to accept full responsibility in the civil justice system."
For more information about Dr. Farid Fata's case, read the previous HNGN report entitled "Farid Fata, Cancer Doctor Who Gave Chemo To Healthy Patients For Profit, To Face Sentencing - And Victims - In Court."