A longtime Chesapeake obstetrician-gynecologist who performed unnecessary surgeries and procedures on patients for years was sentenced today to 59 years in prison.
The term was issued to 71-year-old Dr. Javaid Perwaiz by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith, who presided over the former doctor’s trial last fall.
Smith also ordered Perwaiz to pay $18.5 million in restitution to the various insurance companies that covered the fraudulent procedures.
And although Perwaiz plans to appeal his convictions, he agreed to forfeit to the government his home, two office buildings, a Bentley automobile, and the $2.2 million he earned for performing the unnecessary medical services.
“This conduct is simply unconscionable,” Smith said before issuing her sentence. The judge said she was particularly troubled by the doctor’s lack of remorse, and his willingness to put his patients’ physical and mental health in jeopardy in order to fund a lavish lifestyle.
Perwaiz’s defense lawyers, Lawrence Woodward and Emily Munn, didn’t present any evidence during Tuesday’s court hearing because they said their client believes he was wrongly convicted and therefore should not receive any sentence.
A jury found Perwaiz guilty of 52 counts of fraud at the end of a nearly month-long trial that began last October. Twenty-three of the convictions were for health care fraud, and 29 were for making false statements related to health care.
Prosecutors said greed motivated Perwaiz to do the unneeded work. He often convinced women they needed surgery by falsely telling them they had cancer or were in danger of getting it. He also persuaded his pregnant patients to have their labor induced early so he could be the one to deliver their babies and get paid for it.
Five of Perwaiz’s former patients testified Tuesday, telling the judge about the damage they’ve suffered. Sixty three women submitted victim impact statements to the court.
Several of the women who testified became emotional as they described the pain and anguish they continue to bear. Some had been falsely told they had cancer and that surgery was required to remove it. Some are no longer able to have children.
“My life has been severely impacted by this so-called doctor,” said one woman, identified in court only by the initials F.W. “I’m not the woman I was before.”
The woman said she spent months recovering after a surgery performed by Perwaiz that continues to haunt her physically and mentally. She can no longer have children as a result.
“The pain he has inflicted on me I wouldn’t even wish upon him,” she said.
Federal sentencing guidelines had suggested Perwaiz get the maximum allowed — 475 years in prison.
The recommendation was largely based on the offenses Perwaiz was convicted of in this case, as well as two prior convictions for tax evasion in 1996. In that case, he claimed expensive cars, jewelry, lingerie and other personal items as being business-related expenses on his tax statements.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Yusi asked the judge for a 50-year term, which she said was essentially a life sentence at Perwaiz’s age.
The prosecutor said a lengthy period behind bars was needed to properly punish the doctor, and to deter others from doing the same.
“This case has been a shock to the community,” Yusi said. “The community deserves to know the medical establishment is not above the law.”
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