A federal judge has ordered an Orlando, Fla., ophthalmologist held without bail on charges he defrauded Medicare of $7 million, according to published reports.
David Ming Pon, MD, MPH, is alleged to have falsely diagnosed hundreds of patients with macular degeneration and imminent blindness, then performed sham laser surgeries and unnecessary follow-up care before billing Medicare (and commercial insurers) for the services from the mid-2000s to 2011.
According to a federal grand jury's indictment, which charged the 56-year-old physician with 20 counts of Medicare fraud on April 24, Dr. Pon used a low-power laser that had no impact on patients' vision.
Federal agents report that Dr. Pon billed Medicare for $72 million over the past decade. The insurer suspended his certification last year after the state began investigating 3 medical malpractice complaints filed against him.
Dr. Pon surrendered to authorities on April 29 and has pleaded not guilty. In light of his investments in Chinese real estate and his apparent wealth (federal agents are seeking to seize his $1.5 million home, 2 condominiums, Lexus and Porsche), the judge ruled him a flight risk and denied him bond.