Sentencing for Menendez co-defendant postponed

Sentencing for Menendez co-defendant postponed
© Getty

A sentencing hearing for a Florida eye doctor in a Medicare fraud case has been postponed until his trial in a separate corruption case involving Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate ethics panel resumes Menendez probe after judge declares mistrial Judge declares mistrial in Menendez bribery case Menendez jury deadlocked, ordered to keep trying MORE (D-N.J.).

The attorneys in the fraud case agreed to postpone the Friday sentencing hearing against Dr. Salomon Melgen until December, according to a report from NBC New York.

Melgen is now going to trial in a bribery case where he and Menendez are both defendants.

The wealthy ophthalmologist was convicted in April over a Medicare rip-off scheme that improperly billed over $100 million in medical insurance payments to the federal government. Melgen was found guilty on 67 counts.

ADVERTISEMENT

Prosecutors said he intentionally misdiagnosed serious eye conditions in patients to inflate his Medicare bills. The scheme reportedly lasted from 2008 to 2013, and prosecutors said he illegally earned millions.

In 2012, Melgen billed $21 million to Medicare, the highest of any doctor in the country, according to the report.

He could face 15 years in prison upon Friday's over the fraud charges. 

In the separate corruption trial scheduled to begin in September, prosecutors allege that Menendez used his office to help Melgen, a close friend, avoid millions in federal fines in exchange for political campaign donations and other gifts.

Menendez is also accused of unfairly using his office to help Melgen win lucrative private business contracts, such as a port security deal with the Dominican Republic. 

The New Jersey senator sought to have the federal corruption charges against him dismissed. He argued that the Supreme Court's decision dismissing the corruption conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) had changed the definition of "official action" in federal cases.

But a judge declined to dismiss those charges earlier this week, setting the stage for the trial to begin in New Jersey next month.

Menendez and Melgen have both denied any wrongdoing.