‘Nose doc’ pleads guilty; faces up to 10 years in prison
BY Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com July 20, 2012 4:14PM
Updated: July 20, 2012 9:24PM
Former Merrillville nose doctor Mark Weinberger has reached another plea bargain with federal prosecutors, agreeing to plead guilty to 22 counts of health care fraud in exchange for a sentence of no more than 10 years in prison.
Weinberger had reached a plea with prosecutors before, but the first one would have required a federal judge to sentence him to four years in prison. U.S. District Judge Philip Simon rejected that deal in April 2011, citing concerns that Weinberger’s fraud was more extensive than that included in the 22 counts.
Weinberger received national attention after he fled the country in 2004 on the heels of hundreds of complaints by his patients. He was finally charged in 2006 in the U.S. District Court in Hammond with billing insurance companies for surgeries he never actually performed on his patients. Instead, the indictment claimed, he would either just drill a hole in their sinuses or put them under anesthesia but never perform any surgery.
He was finally arrested in December 2009 in Italy near the northern border with Switzerland.