Monday, September 17, 2012

Conviction on Defrauding Fen-phen Settlement

I'm posting this at the behest of our DoJ readers.  Congratulations are in order.


Please congratulate Paul Shapiro, who, after a one-week trial, successfully prosecuted Dr. Abdur Razzak Tai, convicting him on all 13 counts of mail and wire fraud today.  Tai is a physician who specializes in cardiology and who practices medicine in Florida.  He was among a number of doctors who agreed to review echocardiogram test results to make determinations as to whether individuals who ingested the diet drug Fen-Phen suffered mitral valve damage to their heart, thereby qualifying them for settlements that averaged approximately $400,000 per person from the trust that had been established here in Philadelphia to pay claims and settle lawsuits from across the United States.  Dr. Tai had sought to profit from the $3.5 billion class action settlement of the Fen-Phen litigation by submitting false medical reports attesting that claimants had suffered heart damage when they were, in fact, fine.  Tai took the stand and insisted that his medical reports had been forged or altered by the mass-tort lawyer who had hired him and who had paid him on a contingency fee basis.  Under cross-examination, the doctor was forced to admit that he had had previously lied under oath about his compensation scheme with the lawyer who had hired him.  The jury did not buy his act, and returned its verdicts (and managed to eat lunch) in less than two hours.


We would only add that the defendant's allegations about being as an expert on contingent fee are themselves serious.  We consider the source, but one those allegations are not necessarily inconsistent with theconviction.  We hope that they are being investigated by the approproate authorities.