NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A federal jury has started deliberating the fate of a Chesapeake OB-GYN charged with health care fraud.
Dr. Javaid Pewaiz is facing 61 charges.
Before the jury was handed the case for deliberation, they heard one last pitch from both sides in closing arguments.
Prosecutors told jurors that Perwaiz was a man who didn’t care if he hurt women and it was because he liked money too much.
Perwaiz is accused of doing unnecessary procedures to line his own pockets. He charged more $2.5 million on credit cards over the past 10 years. The government says he bought cars, jewelry, clothing, sunglasses and $40,000 in flowers.
Prosecutors claim he would purposely induce pregnant women early to guarantee that he would deliver the babies. They say he created false symptoms and scared patients with cancer simply to take them into surgery.
“He used the bodies of his patients to defraud insurance companies,” said Assistant United States Attorney John Butler.
Prosecutors told the jury Perwaiz admitted on the stand he backdated sterilization forms even though he knew it was illegal. Most insurance companies won’t pay for the surgery if it is done in less than the required 30 day wait period.
“This is a man who will say anything to get what he wants,” Butler added.
Perwaiz’s attorney Larry Woodward pointed out to the jury that they heard from only 27 former patients. He urged the jury to compare that to the 10,000 patients the doctor has treated over the last 10 years.
“I believe two things,” Woodward said. “One is that Dr. Perwaiz is a flawed human being. He made some mistakes in the past. I also believe the only fair verdict in the case is for you to find him not guilty.”
Woodward reminded the jury that the patients listed in the indictment were patients who never complained about Perwaiz until after he was arrested. He said they kept going to him for years and many would refer their sisters, daughters and friends to the doctor.
“Dr. Perwaiz told you that he does procedures that he believes are medically necessary,” Woodward added.
Prosecutors told the jury time and time again during the four-week trial that is a case about trust. They say Perwaiz broke that trust.
“He was the conductor on a train of deceit,” Butler said. “The patients were his passengers, but they were on a one-way destination to surgery.”
The jury will continue deliberations Thursday morning.
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