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Weinberger enters Florida halfway house; civil lawsuits remain

Mark Weinberger

Mark Weinberger

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Updated: August 27, 2014 6:09AM



Mark Weinberger, the former Merrillville nose doctor who pleaded guilty to faking surgeries on 22 patients to defraud their insurance companies, is a step closer to freedom.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, Weinberger is under the Residential Reentry Management field office in Miami, a halfway program for federal inmates close to the end of their sentence.

Weinberger previously was held at a federal prison in Coleman, Florida.

U.S. District Judge Philip Simon sentenced Weinberger in October 2012 to seven years in prison. Weinberger had already been in prison about three years when he was sentenced. His projected date of release is Jan. 19. Federal inmates are usually required to serve 85 percent of their sentence.

Weinberger’s case has brought national notoriety with numerous turns. He fled the country in 2004 after hundreds of his patients started filing cases against him. One patient, Phyllis Barnes, died after Weinberger failed to notice she had cancer.

The federal charges, claiming Weinberger would do nothing more than drill holes into his patients’ heads when he was supposed to be performing more complex surgery, were filed in 2006. Prosecution had to wait until Italian police found him camping on a mountain in the northern part of that country in 2009.

Simon tossed Weinberger’s initial plea agreement with the government, which would have required Simon to sentence Weinberger to no more than four years in prison because, the judge said, of concerns he had about the extent of Weinberger’s crimes.

Weinberger eventually reached a second plea agreement with prosecutors that capped any possible sentence at 10 years.

Hundreds of civil malpractice suits against Weinberger remain open. Several juries have already ruled against him, ordering him to pay his former patients millions of dollars in damages, including $13 million to Barnes’ family.



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