A federal judge sentenced a south Mississippi oncologist Friday to the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison after her conviction in a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme involving chemotherapy drugs.
Dr. Meera Sachdeva, 50, who founded the Rose Cancer Center in Summit in 2005, was also ordered to pay more than $8 million in restitution and a $250,000 fine. Additionally, Sachdeva will have to forfeit $6 million and four parcels of property.
Sachdeva pleaded guilty July 13 to one count of health care fraud and two counts of making false statements.
Prosecutors said Sachdeva allowed technicians at the cancer center to perform bone marrow biopsies, reuse syringes and use Chemotherapy treatments after their expiration date.
"It was impossible for us to determine, after the fact, whether any particular patient received an adequate amount of chemotherapy treatment, an inadequate amount, or an excessive amount," said Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Scott Gilbert.
Sachdeva also admitted to billing for more chemotherapy drugs than she purchased and not providing each patient with the fully prescribed dosage.
"The amount that she billed the Medicaid, Medicare, and the other private insurance was greater than what she actually purchased," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi Gregory Davis.
Prosecutors the clinic was unsanitary for cancer patients, because several cancer sufferers were admitted to the hospital with infections. One doctor who testified in the trial said an infection was a contributing factor to the death of one patient.
"We just don't know and weren't able to determine, despite our best efforts, the exact causes of death of many of these patients," said Gilbert.
The judge said one reason for the maximum sentence was Sachdeva showed no serious remorse.
Brittany McCoskey, 26, the office manager at the cancer center, was sentenced to 13 months and ordered to pay more than $55,000 in restitution. She pleaded guilty May 17 to making false statements on claims. The U.S. Attorney's office says she prevented nurses from calling an ambulance for some patients at the clinic and even performed some medical procedures while employed as the office manager.
Monica Weeks, 40, was sentenced to three years probation, three years home confinement and restitution of $19,549. Weeks operated The Medical Billing Group in Madison that helped cover up fraud.
A number of the 50 former patients of the clinic, whose records have come in to question or were illegally changed, were in the courtroom. Several family members representing their deceased loved one were also in attendance.
"My sister meant a lot to my family because she had a hand in raising us. So, I'm hurt over that, but I have some closure to the fact that now I know some justice is done," said Rosetta Chairs.
Chairs mentally challenged sister received treatment at Rose Cancer Center and later died.
Earnest Whittington's wife died after being diagnosed with cancer. She also received treatment under the care of Sachdeva. He isn't sure if cancer treatments lead to her death but Whittington was happy with the outcome of the trial.
"I think considering what they had to go by, they did the best they could. I have nothing but high praise for them," explained Whittington.
Five children died because of fungus-contaminated linens at Children's Hospital, prompting an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control.More >>
Five children died because of fungus-contaminated linens at Children's Hospital, prompting an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control. It happened years ago and is just coming to light because of a new entry in a medical journal.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 6:13 PM EDT2014-04-15 22:13:12 GMT
Police in West Memphis, Arkansas are working a home invasion case in which a elderly woman was attacked and beaten. According to friends, the woman had to be rushed to the Med after suffering a brokenMore >>
Police in West Memphis, Ark. are working a home invasion case in which a elderly woman was attacked and beaten.More >>
Monday, April 14 2014 7:13 PM EDT2014-04-14 23:13:04 GMT
No charges for the off duty deputy who shot man on Beale StreetMore >>
Police say Mississippi deputy John Logan shot Mark Martinez of Louisiana who was reportedly fondling a female friend. But Martinez's friend says there was no groping, and that they all thought the woman in question was a man.More >>
Wednesday, April 9 2014 7:38 AM EDT2014-04-09 11:38:01 GMT
This "monster" was found in a drainage culvert Monday. The huge alligator snapping turtle was found on Hoo Shoo Too Road in Baton Rouge. A news crew is headed to talk to the finders, so check back laterMore >>
A wrestling match pitting a courageous man against one monster of a turtle unfolded in a drainage canal, but it was for the animal's well-being.More >>
Thursday, March 27 2014 8:56 PM EDT2014-03-28 00:56:41 GMT
A breathtaking, oceanfront mansion on the Big Island has a new owner. The 9-plus acre "Waterfalling Estate" property sits on a cliff along the Hamakua Coast. It is 8,100 square feet with five bedroomsMore >>
A breathtaking, oceanfront mansion on the Big Island has a new owner.More >>
A government office says a South Korean passenger ship carrying about 470 people has sent a distress call off the southern coast after it began leaning to one side.More >>
Dozens of boats, helicopters and divers scrambled Wednesday to rescue more than 470 people, including 325 high school students on a school trip, after a ferry sank off South Korea's southern coast, killing at least two...More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:06 AM EDT2014-04-16 04:06:47 GMT
Jackson Police are looking for the person who hit a utility pole, snapping it in half. The accident happened around 5:30 Tuesday afternoon on Jones Avenue. When our cameras arrived, witnesses atMore >>
Jackson police are looking for the person who hit a utility pole, snapping it in half. The accident happened around 5:30 Tuesday afternoon on Jones Avenue. More >>
Thursday, April 10 2014 6:53 AM EDT2014-04-10 10:53:05 GMT
A Harrison County affidavit WLOX obtained said a young girl's diary detailed the relationship between former officer Patrick Klis and a 15-year-old girl. WLOX also found online pictures of Klis and a young girl.More >>
WLOX News has uncovered new details about what led investigators to arrest a Long Beach Police officer for three counts of sexual battery involving a minor. A Harrison County affidavit WLOX obtained said a young girl's diary detailed the relationship between former officer Patrick Klis and a 15-year-old girl. WLOX also found online pictures of Klis and a young girl.More >>
WLBT 3 - Fox 40
715 South Jefferson Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39201