A federal judge sentenced Javaid Perwaiz, MD, to 59 years in prison for healthcare fraud and performing unnecessary gynecologic and obstetrical procedures, including sterilizations without patients’ consent.
Judge Rebecca Smith of the US District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, handed down the sentence, telling the physician, “This [was] an overwhelming amount of fraud at every point. It was done for greed and to enhance your lavish lifestyle and you have shown no remorse,” according to WAVY-TV in Chesapeake, Virginia.
Perwaiz owned at least four Mercedes Benz cars and a Bentley automobile, what is doxycycline used to cure multiple properties, gold, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and retirement accounts when he was arrested, according to federal prosecutors.
The physician’s attorney, Joseph R. Pope, told Medscape Medical News that the Perwaiz maintains his innocence and will appeal his conviction and sentencing.
Perwaiz had practiced in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area since the 1980s, according to the US District Attorney. He is believed to be 71, but the federal investigation determined that he used multiple birth dates on various documents, so his exact age is uncertain.
Federal prosecutors alleged in their 2019 indictment that, beginning in 2010, Perwaiz submitted at least $21 million in false claims for hysteroscopies, colposcopies, vaginal and abdominal hysterectomies, dilation and curettage (D&Cs), lysis of adhesions, salpingo-oophorectomies, myomectomies, and cystectomies, and that he pressured patients into having procedures that were not appropriate or necessary.
“Motivated by his insatiable and reprehensible greed, Perwaiz used an arsenal of horrifying tactics to manipulate and deceive patients into undergoing invasive, unnecessary, and devastating medical procedures,” said Raj Parekh, the acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in a statement.
Parekh said the “fraudulent and destructive surgeries caused irreversible damage to the victims,” including rendering them sterile “by using fear to remove organs from their bodies that he had no right to take.”
Perwaiz falsely told women they had cancer or that they would develop cancer, according to Parekh and former patients. Twenty-five former patients testified at the physician’s trial last November, in which a jury convicted him on 52 counts.
At Perwaiz’s 2019 detention hearing, Shamai Watkins, 44, of Portsmouth, said the physician had performed eight or nine surgical procedures on her between 1998 and 2013, including a hysterectomy when she was in her mid-30s, according to the Associated Press. Watkins said the ob/gyn told her she was incapable of conceiving because she had cancerous cells, the AP reported.
More than 60 individuals submitted victim impact statements to the court.
In addition, nurses who had worked with Perwaiz testified and noted that they had complained about his practices to supervisors at hospitals where he had admitting privileges.
The Associated Press reported that federal agents began investigating Perwaiz in 2018, after a hospital worker submitted a tip that he was performing unnecessary surgeries on unsuspecting patients. The worker said Perwaiz’s patients would often tell hospital staff they were there for “annual clean outs.”
Federal prosecutors submitted evidence that Perwaiz falsified obstetric records to ensure that he would be reimbursed even though he induced labor early, before the recommended gestational age. The doctor also backdated Medicaid paperwork to make it appear he had complied with the program’s required 30-day waiting period for sterilizations.
Perwaiz faced a maximum penalty of 465 years in prison, according to the US Attorney’s Office. Federal prosecutors sought a 50-year term, WAVY reported.
Perwaiz graduated from Nishtar Medical College, University of Health Sciences in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1974, Medscape reported when he was arrested. He was first licensed in Virginia in 1980.
State records show a history of disciplinary actions, starting in 1984, when the Virginia State Board of Medicine put him on notice that they were looking into at least 14 complaints that he had performed inappropriate or unnecessary hysterectomies. Perwaiz also admitted at that time that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with a patient. The board censored him, but only for “lack of documentation of patient records.”
In 1996, Perwaiz pled guilty to tax evasion, which led to an automatic revocation of his license. His license was reinstated later that year, but he was placed on probation.
In 1999, the Virginia medical board determined that Perwaiz had met its terms and his license was fully reinstated.
No other actions are listed, despite his arrest and conviction. The Virginia Department of Health Professions states that Perwaiz’s license expired in March 2020.
Alicia Ault is a Lutherville, Maryland-based freelance journalist whose work has appeared in publications including Smithsonian.com, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. You can find her on Twitter @aliciaault.
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