DETROIT -- DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area cancer doctor accused of intentionally misdiagnosing patients and ordering unnecessary treatments will remain in jail until trial, a judge said Wednesday after prosecutors insisted he might flee to the Middle East.

Dr. Farid Fata, in custody since Aug. 6, wanted the judge to lower his $9 million bond to $500,000 and give him a chance to win release. But the decision was worse for the Oakland County man: No bond.

"Obviously there is a presumption of innocence ... but the court feels there is a serious risk of flight. The charges are serious," U.S. District Judge Paul Borman said.

Fata, a naturalized U.S. citizen whose native country is Lebanon, is charged with committing fraud to enrich himself through health insurance programs. The government says some patients were repeatedly exposed to powerful drugs despite having no cancer. Fata denies it.

Outside the courthouse, about a dozen people protested his possible release. Signs read, "Without fail Fata will jump bail" and "No bond for death doctor."

The case has angered Fata's patients and relatives of his deceased patients. They have been meeting regularly to swap stories, wondering if loved ones were victims of excessive chemotherapy or other treatments.

The government says Fata has extensive business holdings, including Michigan Hematology-Oncology, a clinic that has received more than $169 million from Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield since 2006.

Defense attorney Christopher Andreoff told the judge that Fata's assets have been seized by the government or are tied up with liens, eliminating any chance that he has enough cash to dash to Lebanon. He proposed Fata be confined to home with an electronic monitor.

Andreoff said it's also difficult to prepare for trial when Fata is being held at a federal prison in Milan, 50 miles southwest of Detroit.

"I need my client to explain the significance of all the medical records," Andreoff said.

But prosecutor Catherine Dick said there's no assurance that Fata, facing years in prison if convicted, would stay in the U.S.

"We can't be sure how much money he has out there," she said.

Borman set a Feb. 4 trial date, but that could change after an update on the case scheduled for December.

On the sidewalk outside of the courthouse, Michelle Mannarino held a sign with a picture of her late mother, Joan Donohue, 76, and the message, "I trusted him once with her life."

Mannarino said Fata insisted on months of chemotherapy even after her mother's breast cancer was in remission. Donohue died of kidney failure in 2010.

"I believe we'd still have her today," Mannarino said in an interview.


Follow Ed White at

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Kody Grode

    Kody Grode, 24, told her best friend of nine years and colleagues at a local daycare that she had stage-three ovarian cancer. Grode allegedly grifted over $2,000 before being caught. Grode has been sentenced to 90 days in jail. <a href="" target="_blank">Read the full story here.</a>

  • Kristopher Cook

    Kristopher Cook, 28, was accused of faking brain cancer in a scam to get money from well-wishers. Cook allegedly made $7,500 before being caught. In jail, Cook was reportedly beaten within 24 hours and suffered a lacerated spleen and broken nose.

  • Brittany Ozarowski

    Brittany Ozarowski, a 21-year-old alleged heroin addict, was accused of pretending to be cancer-ridden to scam money. She even got her grandmother to sell her house. <a href="" target="_blank">Read the full story here</a>

  • Jessica Vega

    Jessica Vega, 25, was charged with fraud after she allegedly scammed over $13,000 in a fake cancer scheme to pay for her wedding and honeymoon. Vega told friends and family, including her then-fiance, that she was dying of leukemia and faked doctors' notes. The couple divorced, then later got back together. <a href="" target="_blank">Read the full story here.</a>

  • Martha Nicholas

    Martha Nicholas, a 44-year-old mother mother of two, was arrested in 2011 on charges of obtaining money under false pretenses when she claimed to have cancer. Police said there was no evidence of her ever having cancer. Nicholas made over $10,000 and convinced her children, ages 10 and 13, that she was dying. <a href="" target="_blank">Read the full story here.</a>

  • Sara Ylen

    Sara Ylen, 38, allegedly convinced her congregation to hold a fundraiser for her after claiming to have cancer with only 6 months to live. A blood test showed she did not, in fact, have cancer. Ylen was charged with fraud and false pretenses <a href="" target="_blank">Read the full story here</a>

  • Lori Stilley

    Lori Stilley, 40, allegedly told friends and family she had bladder cancer in a scam to have a dream wedding. Stilley made more than $10,000 An investigation found that She had never been treated for nor diagnosed with cancer, prosecutors said. Stilley was charged with theft by deception. <a href="" target="_blank">Read the full story here </a>