(CNN)A former Virginia doctor was sentenced to 59 years in federal prison for scheming more than 25 patients into having unnecessary medical procedures, including irreversible hysterectomies, and fraudulently billing insurance companies for more than $20 million, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
Former Virginia OB-GYN sentenced to 59 years in prison for doing unnecessary procedures
Javaid Perwaiz, 71, was convicted by a jury in November for 52 counts of healthcare fraud and other charges related to his performance as an obstetrician-gynecologist of irreversible hysterectomies, improper sterilizations, and other medically unnecessary surgeries and procedures on his patients over a decade, prosecutors said.
The former doctor, who had practiced in Hampton Roads since the 1980s, would often tell his patients they needed surgeries because they had cancer or could get cancer, the Justice Department said.
"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," Raj Parekh, acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement. "These fraudulent and destructive surgeries caused irreversible damage to the victims. In many instances, the defendant shattered their ability to have children by using fear to remove organs from their bodies that he had no right to take."
Prosecutors said that between 2010 and 2019, Perwaiz falsified records for his obstetric patients so that he could induce their labor early to ensure he would be reimbursed for the deliveries.
"During that period, Perwaiz caused approximately $20.8 million dollars in losses to private and government health care insurers for irreversible hysterectomies and other surgeries and procedures that were not medically necessary for his patients," the statement says.
Perwaiz billed insurance hundreds of thousands of dollars for diagnostic procedures that he only pretended to perform at his office, prosecutors added.
Perwaiz violated the 30-day waiting period Medicaid requires for elective sterilizations by submitting backdated forms to falsely make it appear as if he had complied with the waiting period, prosecutors said.
A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of a woman's uterus, which is where a fetus grows when a woman is pregnant. Sometimes the cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes are also removed.
Hysterectomies are very common, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that about 33% of women in the United States have had one by age 60.