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Doctor could get 30 years for $100M Medicare fraud targeting elderly patients

In this April 2, 2015, file photo, Dr. Salomon Melgen arrives at the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Courthouse for his arraignment, in Newark, New Jersey

AP

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A politically prominent Florida eye doctor accused of bribing New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez could get more than 30 years in prison for his conviction in a separate case. Dr. Salomon Melgen was convicted last April of stealing $100 million in one of the largest Medicare frauds in history. 

A sentencing hearing for Melgen resumes Wednesday after a four-week hiatus. Melgen was convicted of 67 crimes including health care fraud, submitting false claims and falsifying records.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra could give the 63-year-old Melgen a life sentence, but prosecutors are asking for 30 years and Melgen's attorneys want no more than 10.

Prosecutors said Melgen was the nation's highest-paid Medicare provider for five straight years. Melgen convinced elderly patients to undergo often painful tests and treatments they didn't need, for diseases they didn't have.

In a separate case, Melgen is accused of bribing New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. 

Both men were charged in a federal indictment accusing the senator of accepting gifts from Melgen in exchange for political influence. In November, a judge declared a mistrial in that case, after jurors were unable to reach a verdict for more than a week.

It is not clear if they will be tried again.