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Prosecutor: Eye doctor profited by fraud, false hopes

Prosecutor: Eye doctor profited by fraud, false hopes

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A federal prosecutor charged that a prominent Florida eye doctor tied to a U.S. senator's alleged corruption built much of his fortune by defrauding Medicare and instilling false hopes in his patients.

Prosecutor Carolyn Bell said during opening statements Thursday at Dr. Salomon Melgen's Medicare fraud trial that he stole millions by falsely diagnosing patients and by performing unnecessary tests and treatments.

Melgin attorney Matt Menchel countered in his opening by saying Melgin aggressively treated patients and made mistakes, but wasn't a criminal.

Melgen and New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez face a separate trial in the fall in an alleged bribery case.

If convicted on the Medicare fraud counts, Melgen faces up to 610 years in prison.

Melgen has pleaded not guilty.