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Fugitive American Doctor Arrested in Italy

An American doctor accused of fraud and malpractice in the United States has been arrested while hiding on a mountain in Italy, and he stabbed himself in the neck as he was being taken into custody, police said Thursday.

The arrest of Dr. Mark Weinberger of Merrillville, Indiana, appeared to be the first time he had been found since he vanished in 2004 while on vacation in Europe.

In 2006, Weinberger was indicted by a federal grand jury in Hammond, Indiana, on 22 counts of fraud for allegedly concocting a scheme to over charge insurance companies for procedures that were either not needed or sometimes never performed.

In at least one case, the scheme allegedly resulted in death.

Weinberger allegedly treated a woman for sinus problems, and failed to discover her advanced throat cancer — a delay that cost her life, according to a lawsuit filed by her sister.

Hundreds of civil lawsuits had been filed since the doctor did not return home from a vacation in Greece in 2004.

Weingerger was arrested earlier this week on a mountain in Val Ferret, Italy, where he was living in a tent, said police in the town of Aosta. The doctor was being sought on an international arrest warrant and was likely trying to sneak into Switzerland, said police official Guido Di Vita.

After the arrest, Weinberger lightly injured himself in the neck with a small knife he had hidden on himself and was taken to a hospital, Di Vita said.

He said police were alerted to Weinberger's presence on the mountain by a guide and identified the suspect through his documents. The doctor had previously rented an apartment in the area but left without paying, Di Vita said.

It was not immediately clear when Weinberger would be discharged from the local hospital or if he would be extradited to the United States.