A Florida eye doctor was convicted of numerous counts of Medicare fraud Friday in an ongoing investigation of political corruption.
Longtime friend of Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Dr. Salomon Melgen was convicted of 67 counts of Medicare fraud. The sentence could result in the physician spending the remainder of his life behind bars, The Associated Press reports. At the height of the fraudulent scheme in 2012, Melgen reportedly collected more money from Medicare than any other doctor in the U.S., bringing in $21 million alone that year.
Federal prosecutors were able to convince the jury Friday that Melgen stole up to $105 million from Medicare between 2008 to 2013. He was allegedly splitting up expensive eye drugs into four separate doses and charging the government for each treatment.
A long-time Democratic donor, Melgen hosted big fundraisers for candidates at his 6,500-square-foot home in North Palm Beach, Florida.
Menendez and Melgen are slated to stand trial in the Fall on charges that the physician bribed the politician for a host of political favors.
“The biggest fear I would have if I were representing Menendez is the obvious possibility that the government could use leverage against Dr. Melgen and say, ‘You could help yourself now if you tell us everything you know,'” former federal prosecutor Solomon Wisenberg told reporters.
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