U.S. Psychiatric Doctor Arrested on Liver Transplant Fraud Scheme

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: liver transplant, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) A U.S. psychiatrist has been arrested in the Philippines and charged with defrauding a sick man out of $70,000 by promising him a liver transplant that never materialized, leading to his death.

In 2001, Florida psychiatrist Jerome Howard Feldman was indicted on charges related to stolen property, money laundering, state and federal fraud, and racketeering. Feldman evaded arrest and remained a fugitive until his Feb. 2 arrest in Manila. He has since then been indicted on further charges of federal wire fraud for the liver transplant case. Also pending against him are federal healthcare fraud charges, filed in 1999.

According to prosecutors, Feldman used the alias "Dr. Mitch Michaelson" to communicated by e-mail with A New York couple who contacted him through the Web site He convinced the couple to wire $70,000 to a bank account in the name "Alberto Gomez," actually another of his aliases. He promised them that if they flew to the Philippines and went to a certain hospital, Dr. Michaelson would carry out a liver transplant for the man in the couple, all expenses paid.

When the couple arrived at the hospital, however, staff there had never heard of Michael Michaelson. To make matters worse, their transplant doctor was unable to perform the procedure that the man needed.

The man died in the hospital in July 2008, still awaiting a transplant, and "Michaelson" stopped responding to his widow's e-mails. The hospital has since billed the widow $20,000 for medical fees incurred during her husband's stay.

Prosecutors report that Feldman had bilked at least six other victims in a similar fashion, netting a total of $400,000.

Feldman was initially arrested on immigration charges for living illegally in the Philippines. If convicted of the wire fraud charges alone, he faces up to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

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