NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Federal prosecutors have begun to lay out the case against the Chesapeake OB-GYN accused of health care fraud.
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.
Prosecutors say Perwaiz would falsify patient symptoms, falsify estimated delivery dates and do phony office procedures. He would then bill insurance companies.
Perwaiz’s defense attorney told the jury they can’t focus on just 25 patients when Perwaiz treated thousands of patients in his 40-year career.
He said his client is not a crook, but a hard-working man who loved all his patients and they loved him.
The first witness to take the stand in the trial was Perwiaz’ former worker Lisa Strong.
Strong said Perwaiz would do procedures on patients even when the equipment was broken. He would continue billing the insurance company. Strong told the jury that, most of the time, the diagnosis of a new patient would usually involve finding something wrong.
“I was concerned about the dishonesty,” Strong said into why she left his practice in 2018. “I’ve witnessed patients crying and upset based upon what was in the chart.”
The first of many of Perwaiz’ former patients took the stand after Strong. “N.B.,” as she was called in court, said Perwaiz gave her a hysterectomy in 2019.
N.B. told the jury Perwaiz said her uterus was low and possibly cancerous. N.B. had surgery three days later.
She says she didn’t have any issues before the surgery, but even today she can’t use the restroom by herself.
“I have anxiety, because I trusted him to do the right thing,” she told the court. “I wake up and think about what I should have done and I blame myself for not getting a second opinion. I don’t want him to be able to do that to another person.”
The trial is expected to take five weeks. Perwaiz is facing 61 federal charges.