​Victims: Michigan doctor used our trust to inflict pain

DETROIT -- Federal prosecutors are seeking a sentence of 175 years for Dr. Farid Fata, who victimized hundreds of patients with unnecessary treatments so he could make millions in Medicare payments. Some patients didn't even have cancer.

Victims of Fata gathered outside the federal courthouse Wednesday and spoke about how he did so much damage for so long. Liz Lupo said her mother, who died an agonizing death from lung cancer, was too trusting.

"She wanted to believe him because he was the only one giving her hope," Lupo said.

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Liz Lupo, second from left, and other family members of patients victimized by Dr. Farid Fata walk to the Detroit courtroom where Fata is being sentenced
CBS News

Fata used his elite credentials and large practice as a smokescreen to dupe patients and fleece Medicare and private insurers.

He discouraged patients from getting second opinions and belittled them when they asked about his painful but always billable chemotherapy treatments.

"The doctors would send me down the hall in the waiting room, which would be past the ICU doors, in the waiting room so that I wouldn't hear it (her screams) and you could still hear it loud and clear," said Lupo.

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Angela Swantek
CBS News

When Angela Swantek sought a job as a nurse for Fata in 2010, she was immediately alarmed by how the chemo drugs were being administered at his office.

"I questioned quite a few of the medications," said Swantek.

She says when she brought up objections to how certain drugs were administered, she was told by a nurse, "that's how we give it here."

Swantek didn't take the job and filed a complaint with state regulators. Fata was investigated, but cleared.

Finally, in 2013, after one of the doctors Fata employed complained, the FBI was called in and Fata was arrested -- but not before he hurt people like Teddy Howard.

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Teddy Howard, a former patient of Dr. Farid Fata.
CBS News

Howard says he did not have cancer but was told he did by Dr. Fata. Fata's chemotherapy was pointless. Howard needed a new liver and now requires a lifetime of medicine to stay healthy, about 40 pills a day.

When we asked a former federal prosecutor if this sort of thing could happen again, he said sure, especially when desperate people place all of their faith in a man they should be able to trust.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.