TODAY

TODAY   |  August 14, 2013

Rossen Reports: Doctor allegedly gave needless chemo

Investigators say a doctor in Michigan has been telling people they have cancer, even when they didn’t, and then giving them chemotherapy as part of an alleged $35 million Medicare fraud. NBC’s Jeff Rossen reports.

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>>> horrifying allegations against a cancer doctor in michigan. investigators say he was telling people he had cancer when they didn't and then treating them just to get the money for treatment. today national investigative correspondence jeff rossen is here with this story. good morning.

>> this is a popular doctor with more than 1,000 patients. patients that trusted him of course. so the allegations are truly alarming. anyone that's been through chemotherapy knows how rough it is. but prosecutors say this doctor was giving chemo to people that didn't need it. some didn't even have cancer. all part of a fraud.

>> reporter: this is the man, a trusted oncologist who prosecutors say preyed on patients to pad his pockets. the fbi hauling evidence from his offices last week in upscale michigan neighborhoods and the charges against him are disturbing. deliberate misdiagnosis of patients as having cancer. giving unnecessary chemotherapy. even to end-of-life patients who will not benefit.

>> if he did, indeed commit these crimes, then a monster is a good description.

>> jeff fears his father milton suffered under the doctors' care. prescribed chemotherapy for leukemia but as his health got worse, the doctor wouldn't stop chemo and went to great lengths to administer it.

>> my dad would offer arrive at his office and one of the staff would come out and actually administer the therapy session in my father's car while he is sitting out in the parking garage.

>> months later milton died. now his son has reached out to prosecutors.

>> i hate to think that my father was either hurt or his life shortened by this man if it wasn't necessary.

>> reporter: prosecutors say the doctor was motivated by money. billing medicare for false claims, all the while living in this lavish mansion in a ritzy suburb. federal investigators have been here too. back in court --

>> what do you care to say to patients today.

>> reporter: his wife the company cfo wouldn't speak. but the defense lawyer did saying his client is innocent.

>> they're allegations only. they're unsupported factually and legally at this particular point.

>> reporter: his company is now accused of defrauding the government and taxpayers out of $35 million. officials say healthcare fraud is a growing problem.

>> it not only affects the patients sometimes put in harms way but also the taxpayers. all of us are contributing to the medicare and medicaid programs and these are the dollars going out the door as a result of the greed of a few providers.

>> reporter: the doctor is now in jail. the judge setting his bond at $9 million calling him a flight risk. experts say this is a good reminder for all of us to be alert at the doctor's office. here is the take away. as get hard copies of your medical records and look them over. if you get a serious diagnosis like cancer get a second opinion and bring those records with you. and finally, if you suspect wrong doing or medicare fraud , report it. it is quite easy to do. we have a link on our website right now. today.com, click on the rossen reports section. authorities want to hear from you and other alleged victims from this case.

>> what a story. especially because people are so vulnerable in that moment. thanks for following