NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The trial against a Chesapeake obstetrician-gynecologist accused of performing unnecessary surgeries on patients as part of a health care fraud scheme is underway.
Dr. Javaid Perwaiz was arrested in November 2019 and faces more than 60 health care fraud charges.
Prosecutors believe Perwaiz’s alleged crimes happened for nearly 10 years, from 2010 to 2019, with police arresting him last year. He was an OB-GYN in Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Suffolk for three decades.
This indictment adds 52 additional charges to the 11 he faced when the second indictment was filed in December 2019.
Prosecutors believe that Perwaiz committed these crimes over the course of about 10 years. They believe Perwaiz made money by submitting false insurance claims for procedures that weren’t medically necessary, and that he justified the procedures by falsifying patient statements and diagnoses. Prosecutors also accuse Perwaiz of altering sterilization consent forms, and in some cases, allegedly filing insurance claims for procedures that weren’t done at all, according to court documents.
Prosecutors believe that Perwaiz billed for more than $2.3 million in gynecological procedures and surgeries based, at least in part, on the findings of diagnostic procedures that were never done, according to court documents.
This story will be updated with coverage with each day of the trial.
Day 18, Friday, Nov. 6:
Jurors continued to deliberate in the Dr. Javaid Perwaiz trial Friday.
No verdict was reached.
Day 17, Thursday, Nov. 5:
The jury spent all day Thursday deliberating.
The jury has a lot of information to process: the federal prosecutors presented almost 800 exhibits and 8,000 pages of medical records for evidence. Prosecutors say the Chesapeake OB-GYN did unnecessary surgeries including hysterectomies on his patients.
Dr. Javaid Perwaiz is charged with 61 counts in connection with the health care fraud accusations. So, it will take a while if the jury is going count-by-count.
If convicted on all charges, Perwaiz could get up to 539 years in prison.
Day 16, Wednesday, Nov. 4:
The jury now has the case –the panel will decide if Dr. Javaiz Perwaiz is guilty of the 61 federal charges.
On Wednesday, prosecutors told the jury in closing arguments that this was a man who didn’t care if he hurt women. He liked money too much.
Prosecutors claim he would purposely induce pregnant women early to guarantee that he delivered the babies. They say he created false symptoms and scared patients with cancer simply to take them into surgery.
Prosecutors told the jury this is a doctor who admitted on the stand he would backdate sterilization forms even though he knew it was illegal.
Perwaiz’s defense attorney pointed out to the jury that they heard from only 27 patients out of the 10,000 he has cared for over the past 10 years. They said this the jury’s job to take the facts and find the truth.
They went on to say this was a man who didn’t hide anything from anyone and if this was a scheme he did a terrible job at pulling it off.
Prosecutors ended by telling the jury Perwaiz was the conductor of a train and the patients were the passengers on a one-way stop toward surgery.
The jury will now have to examine the 800 exhibits which include more than 8,000 pages of medical records.
Day 14, Monday, Nov. 2:
Both side have rested in the Dr. Javaid Perwaiz trial.
On Monday, Perwaiz spent the day on the stand being cross-examined. Prosecutors pressed Perwaiz on the stand. They asked the doctor why he did in office procedures without certain supplies, as well as why those procedures would lead to surgeries and why he changed patient records.
Perwaiz said he stands by every procedure or surgery that he has done and always acted in the best interest of the patient.
Prosecutors also wanted to know why Perwaiz didn’t disclose on insurance forms that he was convicted in the past of a felony and that he lost privileges at a hospital.
Perwaiz said that was a mistake, he wasn’t trying to hide anything and he takes full responsibility.
Perwaiz lost his privileges from Maryview Medical Center in 1983 for a lack of judgment for doing unnecessary surgeries and having sex with a patient.
On Monday, Perwaiz told the court he has had sex with a patient since then.
Closing arguments begin Wednesday.
Day 13, Friday, Oct. 30:
There have now been three weeks of testimony in the case against OB-GYN Dr. Javaid Perwaiz.
Prosecutors have leaned on lots of information from patient charts, medical facility complaints and testimony to back to the charges. Some of them the doctor himself admitted to. Many of the OB-GYN’s former patients have been there in court watching things unfold.
“I felt joyful when I left the courtroom yesterday, because I saw him squirming,” said Sonya Medlin.
Day 12, Thursday, Oct. 29:
OB-GYN Dr. Javaid Perwaiz was on the stand all day Thursday.
His attorneys went over the patients who are subjects of the indictments. He told the jury what he did and why he did it. These are the same surgeries prosecutors claim he did unnecessarily, but Prewaiz said he stands behind every surgery he did.
Prosecutors claim Perwaiz would backdate patient sterilization forms. We learned through testimony that insurance companies wouldn’t pay for the procedure if it was done less than 30 days from the time the patient signed and delivered the form.
Perwaiz told the court he did backdate the forms because he wanted to give the patients what they wanted and he just couldn’t say no.
Prosecutors say Perwaiz would also change the original due dates on pregnant patients and induce them before 39 weeks. Perwaiz told the jury he would take the original ultrasound and calculate his own date. He said he never delivered before 39 weeks.
Perwaiz also said he would change patient records, especially when it came to high blood pressure. He said he instructed staff to write high blood pressures on a sticky note and give it to him. He told the jury that he didn’t have confidence in some staff members taking blood pressures so he would go behind them and take it himself. His measurement was always lower than what his staff got.
Day 11, Wednesday, Oct. 28:
A Chesapeake OB-GYN accused of insurance fraud said he wanted to become a doctor because he loved delivering babies.
On Wednesday, Dr. Javaid Perwaiz took the stand in his own defense. Perwaiz is on trial in at the Norfolk federal courthouse charged with health care fraud relating to performing unnecessary procedures.
Day 10, Tuesday, Oct. 27:
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – More than 3,400 medical records: that’s the number of files law enforcement seized when they raided Dr. Javaid Perwaiz’s Chesapeake office last year.
Pewaiz, who is a longtime OB-GYN, is on trial in federal court for health care fraud.
On Tuesday, Danita Lopes, an investigator with the Department of Defense, gave the jury more insight into the case. Lopes says more than 80 boxes were seized from Perwaiz’s office on Churchland Boulevard Oct. 29, 2019. Investigators seized records going back five years along with medical equipment.
Day 9, Monday, Oct. 26:
On Monday, the court we heard from several patients who now wonder if they their hysterectomies were needed to begin with.
Though a Korean translator, one woman told the jury she was a patient of OB-GYN Dr. Javaid Perwaiz for 15 years. In that time, he gave her at least four surgeries.
She told the court she would go for routine check-ups and end up having a surgery.
The patient says Perwaiz told her the lumps he was removing could be cancerous and the only way to keep them from coming back was a hysterectomy.
Another patient gave the jury a similar story. She had a history of cancer in her family and says she trusted her doctor.
After the surgery, she had complications with using the restroom. Those complications still exist today, she said.
The jury also heard from a financial expert with the FBI talk about all of Perwaiz’s expenses over the last 10 years.
The FBI says Perwaiz has a net worth of any where between $1.5 and $2 million.
He had three bank accounts with Towne Bank. There were several accounts, including a personal savings, personal checking and business account.
The FBI says his business account took in almost $7 million in the past seven years.
When he was arrested, he owned five cars which included a $200,000 Bentley.
The prosecution is moving along faster than expected. It could rest its case by Tuesday afternoon.
Day 8, Thursday, Oct. 22:
Lisa Akinson, a registered nurse at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, took the stand during day eight of OB-GYN Dr. Javaid Perwaiz’s jury trial Thursday.
“He knew all his patients,” Atkinson said. “He knew their families. He was always a pleasure to work with. He was a true gentleman.”
Akinson said there were times Perwaiz’s patients weren’t informed about the surgeries they were having.
Akinson told the jury that it took Perwaiz only about 20 minutes to do a hysterectomy, but it would take the other OB-GYNs about an hour.
Akinson added to previous testimony about changed patient forms, and said there were two occasions when Perwaiz changed patient consent forms before surgery.
“I felt we assaulted the patient,” Akinson wrote in a letter to her boss.
Patient T.D.C then took the stand. She said she went to Perwaiz in 2014 to have Essure removed. That is a type of birth control. Perwaiz told her he also found a mass on her right ovary and would remove it when he removed the Essure. Akinson says right before the surgery, Perwaiz changed T.D.C.’s consent to operate on her left ovary. T.D.C. was never told Perwaiz operated on her left side instead.
Melinda Matzell, who is the senior investigator for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, then took the stand. The FBI asked her to compare claims filed by Perwaiz to that of other Virginia OB-GYNs.
Matzell says between 2010-2019 other Virginia OBGYNs did about 7% surgery on their patients while during that same period Perwaiz did surgery at 41%.
She also says that in 2016, all OB-GYNs billed Anthem $46,000 for hysteroscopies. Perwaiz accounted for nearly half that at $26,000.
A key moment for the prosecution came when A.N. took the stand. The 30-year-old woman decided to record her appointment with the doctor back in 2016.
A.N. went to Perwaiz because she was having trouble getting pregnant. She says in the waiting from another patient was upset because he also “cut on her.” A.N. got nervous and decided to set up her cell phone in the exam room.
During the exam, Perwaiz told A.N. that insurance won’t cover fertility procedures, but he had another idea.
“We are going to write it as if you are having problems with periods and urination,” Perwaiz told her.
A.N. had a surgery just a couple days later.
Patient D.C. then testified. In 2013, Perwaiz said her ovaries needed to be removed.
Prosecutors showed the jury Perwaiz’s surgical plan which included a total vaginal hysterectomy. That was something D.C. didn’t agree with.
After surgery, Perwaiz told A.N. that he had to remove one ovary and her uterus.
“I was surprised he left one ovary and took my uterus,” she told the court.
A.N. says she didn’t ask any questions, because he was her doctor and she trusted him.
Last year, A.N. says she went to a new OB-GYN who did an ultrasound. She told the jury it revealed that both her ovaries were still in her body.
Day 7, Wednesday, Oct. 21:
Testimony continued in day seven of the Dr. Javaid Perwaiz trial.
Courtney Ciccone testified. She worked as Dr. Perwaiz’s ultrasound tech for seven years. She said she would see anywhere between 12 and 15 patients a day. She told the jury that on many occasions, patients didn’t know why they were having an ultrasound. She went on to tell the jury how Perwaiz changed her findings on two occasions that required surgery for the patients. Prosecutors then went through several medical records for pregnant patients and highlighted where Ciccone’s initial due date was changed by Perwaiz to an earlier date.
Dr. Greg Merti, Optima Health medical director, took the stand. He said he was alerted by an employee in 2012 with concerns over Perwaiz’s utilization of services. The case was referred for an investigation. Optima found that Perwaiz was doing more hysteroscopies than other Virginia OB-GYNs. Perwaiz told him he was very interested in improving his care. Merti said the problem still existed in 2015.
Diane Lee, who is a retired nurse from Bon Secours Ambulatory Center at Harbour View testified that the days when Perwaiz was working were very busy. She said he usually had two operating rooms going at the same time. Lee told the jury that many times, his patients didn’t know why they were having surgery. She also said that patients would frequently tell her they didn’t have the symptoms Perwaiz put in pre-operating notes. Lee told the court that on several occasions she and other staff members raised concerns with supervisors, but nothing was ever done.
Day 6, Tuesday, Oct. 20:
Day six of the Dr. Javaid Perwaiz jury trial did not bring any monumental developments, but here’s a rundown on what happened.
A juror had to be excused. He was exposed to someone outside of court who tested positive for COVID-19. None of the other jury members were affected.
Ashley Cotten, a former Perwaiz employee, testified that she would see him changing patient charts. She also said the majority of his patients would end up needing some sort of surgery.
Patient “A.D.” took the stand. She had two children delivered by Perwaiz. She was induced early for both pregnancies. Her first child was born two weeks early. She also was told she had a cyst that could be cancer and had surgery to have it removed.
Next, “D.P.” took the stand. She started going to Perwaiz in September 2016. She had some pelvic pain on her right side. She told the jury Perwaiz said it could be cancer and that the only solution was to have a hysterectomy. She had the procedure, but experienced significant pain afterward.
Deloris Valenta from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services took the stand. DMAS oversees Virginia’s Medicaid program. She looked at Medicaid claims for doctors between 2016 and 2019. She told the jury during that time frame, Perwaiz did 190 hysteroscopies. She went on to say the doctor second on the list only had six
Stay with WAVY.com for more daily updates in the Perwaiz trial.
Day 5, Monday, Oct. 19:
Chesapeake OB-GYN Dr. Javaid Perwaiz did more surgeries than other area OB-GYNs. That’s according to a data expert with Optima Health who testified in the doctor’s federal healthcare fraud trial Monday.
Josh Longe, who is a data analytics manager, testified Monday that Perwaiz’s patients were four times more likely to have surgery than those with area OB-GYNs. Longe calculated Optima’s insurance claims at the request of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Day 4, Friday, Oct. 16:
Two of the U.S. government’s key witnesses took the stand Friday in the Dr. Javaid Perwaiz federal trial.
Margo Stone worked alongside Pewaiz, an OB-GYN in Chesapeake, for nearly 30 years. She was a nurse, bookkeeper and office administrator.
She told the jury she commonly assisted Perwaiz with seeing patients. She said she was right next to him when he allegedly committed the crimes he is accused of.
Day 3, Thursday, Oct. 15:
The jury for the Dr. Javaid Perwaiz federal trial got an education on the female reproductive system Thursday.
Prosecutors called Philadelphia OB-GYN Dr. Jay Golberg to the stand Thursday to talk about words such as “hysterectomy,” “cervix,” “uterus” and “sterilization.”
Goldberg told the jury he reviewed files from Perwaiz’s patients and disagreed with some of the Chesapeake doctor’s diagnoses.
Day 2, Wednesday, Oct. 14: Cancer scare
Prosecutors told the jury the case against Dr. Javaid Perwaiz is about broken trust, manipulation and greed. They say he used the fear of cancer to manipulate patients into surgery for money.
The jury heard how the doctor allegedly did unnecessary surgeries and would bill for procedures he didn’t do.
The government is focusing on 25 of the doctor’s patients from 2015-2019 who they say either had surgeries for no reason or had early induced pregnancies.
Day 1, Tuesday, Oct. 13: Jury selection
The jury selection process started Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. in Norfolk Federal Court.
Tuesday, a jury of 18 members was selected. That will consist of 12 jurors and 6 alternates. The jury is evenly split between men and women.
Opening statements are scheduled to begin Wednesday morning. The trial is expected to last five weeks.
Prosecutors believe one way Perwaiz made money was by routinely scheduling patients for early labor inductions, court documents state.
Perwaiz allegedly scheduled patients for early labor inductions to make sure that their babies were delivered on days that he was already in the hospital so he could file insurance claims for the deliveries. Perwaiz allegedly changed the “estimated delivery dates” on some of his patients’ medical records and induced them before their 39th week of pregnancy, which is against the medical standard of care, according to court documents.
Perwaiz billed Medicaid and Tricare for 84 deliveries in 2019. Prosecutors believe that at least 33 percent of those births were early induced labors.
Perwaiz also “aggressively encouraged” women to consent to procedures by telling them they had cancer or would develop cancer if they didn’t have surgery. He justified the procedures and surgeries to insurance companies by falsifying patients’ medical records to include statements they didn’t make and symptoms they didn’t have. These surgeries were sometimes irreversible, like hysterectomies, court documents state.
Perwaiz also allegedly billed insurance companies for diagnostic procedures he didn’t actually do, like hysteroscopies and colposcopies. Although these procedures weren’t actually done, Perwaiz used his alleged findings to justify other medical procedures and surgeries, court documents state.
These surgeries and procedures included hysterectomies, dilation and curettage, and lysis of adhesions, court documents state.
Perwaiz is also accused of pressuring his patients to go through with permanent sterilization procedures, often by lying to them and saying that the procedures were easily reversible. Sometimes he circumvented Medicaid’s 30-day sterilization consent requirement by backdating consent forms so they appeared to have been signed earlier than they were, court documents state.
Perwaiz has pleaded not guilty to all on the charges. His case was rescheduled last month because of a COVID-19 outbreak at Western Tidewater Regional jail.