September 29, 2015

Federal Jury Finds Doctor Guilty on 20 Counts of Health Care Fraud

JACKSONVILLE, FL—United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III announces that a federal jury today found Dr. David M. Pon (57, Windermere) guilty of 20 counts of health care fraud connected to his scheme to defraud the Medicare program. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for each count. Following the jury’s verdict, the Court remanded Pon to the custody of the United States Marshals Service. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 14, 2016.

Pon was indicted on April 24, 2014.

According to testimony and evidence presented during the past four weeks, Pon intentionally and fraudulently misdiagnosed more than 500 Medicare beneficiaries as suffering from wet macular degeneration, a degenerative and incurable disease. Pon then used his false diagnoses to bill the Medicare program for unnecessary diagnostic testing and unwarranted laser treatments. In connection with the unnecessary testing, Pon injected his victims with various dyes that posed potential serious health risks, including cardiac arrest. Several of the misdiagnosed patients testified and explained the significant emotional impact the false diagnosis had on their lives, including the fear of going blind as a result of the disease. During the scheme to defraud Medicare, Pon operated two medical offices, one in Leesburg and another in Orlando.

“Misdiagnosing patients to provide invasive, potentially harmful services just to falsely bill Medicare is unconscionable” said Special Agent in Charge Shimon Richmond. “HHS-OIG will vehemently investigate those who would harm our seniors and steal from the Medicare program.”

“Protecting seniors from fraud is a top priority of our Office,” said United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III. “The fraud committed by Dr. Pon, a well-trained ophthalmologist, was particularly egregious. He abused his position of trust and falsely diagnosed hundreds of Medicare patients with wet macular degeneration, a progressive eye disease that can lead to blindness. He instilled fear in his victims, performed unnecessary and sometimes dangerous medical procedures on their eyes, and asked the taxpayers of this country to pick up the tab.”

This case was investigated by United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Mark B. Devereaux and Mac D. Heavener.