Friday, October 23, 2015

My Trial Date

     The trial date in my case was originally set for September 7, 2015.  Now it's January 4, 2016, at 9 AM.  The trial will take place in the federal courthouse in Gainesville, Florida.  Trials are open to the public.  The first day is likely to be taken up with jury selection.  The first month of my trial, I'm told, is likely to be used by the government:  it's typical for a federal prosecutor to take weeks and weeks articulating its accusations, trying to get them to stick like poison darts in the jurors' heads.  Until the prosecutor is finished doing this, the defense is not allowed to talk back.
     The government's investigation of my family practice clinic started mid-year in 2009--that means it will have taken nearly seven years to bring this case to trial.   In that time, no prosecutor or government agent has ever asked me anything about what they presumed was fraud, or about billing and coding in a medical clinic, how my medical practice functioned, why it was different from the average family practice clinic, or who I was.  It was different--and that was enough, apparently, to presume guilt conduct an expensive investigation, raid my new medical clinic two years into the investigation, and indict me five years after the investigation started.
     Pat McCullough, who purchased the clinic after eighteen months of due diligence, called federal authorities in April or May 2009, announced that she had purchased a fraudulent medical clinic and wanted to report the doctor who sold it to her.  In this way she was able to slither out of paying the purchase price (which I financed) while collecting the outstanding receivables and selling everything of value.  She kept running the clinic at half-mast for the remainder of the year, failed to pay many employees, declined to pay monthly bills, was reported to the Labor Board, lost most of the regular patients, closed the doors for good in 2010, and declared bankruptcy later that year.
     By accusing me of being a fraudulent doctor she succeeded in tapping in to Obama's stepped-up plan to "crack down on healthcare fraud" by getting hyped-up FBI agents and federal prosecutors to believe they had an easy win in front of them, "low-hanging fruit" as one defense lawyer said, while not having to pay for the prosecution.  Even better, Ms. McCullough--freed from all debt when her bankruptcy request was granted in 2011--is sitting in the catbird seat, waiting for what she hopes will be the government-sanctioned reward for whistleblowers who catch doctors committing fraud:  around 20% of whatever the government "takes back" from payments made to me (for legitimate services) over as many years as they can convince a jury I was stealing payments, not working for them.
     If I really were a scheming, fraudulent professional, an uncouthAmerican citizen, if I were so clever as to know how to set up a systematic way of tricking the government into paying me what I hadn't earned and didn't deserve, and if that is what I really had in mind to do--wouldn't I have made it easy on myself, and done what Pat did?  Why bother with medical school?  Why train to be a doctor for thirteen years, many sleep-deprived, and study medical journals every evening after office hours for the rest of my life, and lie awake at night wondering if I misdiagnosed someone, or prescribed one medicine when another might have been better, or could have made a patient feel better sooner, or suffer less, or kept him, finally, from dying?
     Whistleblowing is definitely the way to go, not medical school.  There are no penalties for making a mistake--a false accusation--and the rewards are…well, ask Pat.


  1. Doctor Colasante was a good doctor, my first woman doctor. I was so happy to have crossed the gender line in my own personal life. My mom also loved Dr. Colasante. I wish her the best of luck and grace of God in her case.

  2. Unfortunately, the January trial most likely will not be the end of this saga. Whatever the outcome, it will be appealed. Having been down a similar seizure of our home without due process, I know how it works. We were victorious in the end but we lost years of our lives and also faith in the country we loved and believed in. I have a lot of respect for Dr. Colosante and it weighs heavy on my heart that she has been subjected to violation of her Civil Rights.

  3. I continue to keep Dr. Colosante in my thoughts and prayers.

  4. How has it gone? My thoughts are with her.