Crime

South Florida doctor faces February trial on Medicare fraud charges

South Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen will face trial next February on charges of falsely billing $190 million to the taxpayer-funded Medicare program, a federal judge decided Monday.

Melgen, 61, is being held without bail because he is considered a flight risk to his native country, the Dominican Republic, according to a detention ordered signed by U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra.

Melgen was arrested last month at his medical office in West Palm Beach and pleaded not guilty to charges of collecting more than $105 million in “fraudulent” reimbursements between 2008 and 2013, according to an indictment.

Prosecutors say he fabricated diagnoses to generate “unnecessary” procedures such as eye injections to treat patients suffering from a retinal disease that causes blindness.

In a separate case filed last month, Melgen and his close friend, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, were charged with public corruption in Newark, N.J., stemming from the physician's gifts and donations totaling nearly $1 million in return for alleged political favors from the Democratic lawmaker.

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