Phony doctor gets 2 years in prison for health care fraud - The Buffalo News
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Phony doctor gets 2 years in prison for health care fraud

Fitzgerald A. Hudson masqueraded as a doctor.

He lied on his application to medical school and later on his request for a license in New York State.

And prosecutors will tell that you that, even worse, they believe that Hudson was responsible for the death of a 5-year-old boy in his care.

A federal judge Tuesday sentenced the former Wellsville doctor turned convict to two years in prison for health care fraud. He also was ordered to pay $227,548 in restitution.

“No punishment would be sufficient,” the boy’s mother said after the sentencing.

The boy’s parents, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified, were in the courtroom when Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny expressed skepticism at Hudson’s claims of remorse and sorrow.

“I’m not sure you get it,” Skretny told him. “I don’t detect a real sense of remorse. And that’s a problem. I don’t really sense that there’s a respect for the law. And that’s a concern.”

Hudson pleaded guilty last year to health care fraud but, as part of his plea deal, admitted lying about his education and experience in order to become a doctor.

“Essentially for 20 years, this defendant’s professional career was built upon layer and layer of fraudulent conduct,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron J. Mango.

At various points in his life, Hudson pretended to be a graduate of York University in Ontario when, in fact, he dropped out of school in 1990.

Investigators said he also lied about his residency, insisting he performed well when, in fact, he was dismissed from at least one of the programs.

He also misled state regulators in order to get his medical license and eventually practice at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville.

“Obviously, my client’s ability did not approach what his reach was,” said Michael S. Friedman, Hudson’s defense lawyer. “I’m afraid his ambition got the best of him.”

In his plea for leniency, Hudson, a native of Jamaica and Michigan, read extensively from the Bible and suggested that helping the poor and less fortunate was part of his calling in life.

“I’m 53 years old, and I’m a good man, sir. I’m a God-fearing man,” he told Skretny.

Mango countered by outlining three different cases of what he called Hudson’s “gross negligence and incompetence.”

They included the 5-year-old boy who was treated by Hudson at Jones Memorial in 2009 and, according to Mango, was misdiagnosed.

He said Hudson failed to do a complete medical history of the boy and, as a result, failed to learn he was asthmatic.

In the end, Mango said, Hudson prescribed a drug that was inappropriate for a child with breathing problems. The boy died three hours later.

When the boy’s mother was asked if Hudson’s conviction brought any closure to her family, she simply shook her head.

“No,” she said, “not at this point.”

The boy’s death is at the center of a wrongful-death lawsuit against Hudson and Jones Memorial, a fact his lawyer told Skretny should not be a factor in his sentencing.

“He certainly denies responsibility for the death of that child,” Friedman said.

A source close to the investigation said authorities believe that Hudson was responsible for the boy’s death but were unable to make the case for any type of state homicide charges.

Hudson’s $227,548 in restitution will go to Medicare, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, Univera Healthcare and Independent Health.

He is facing state charges in Allegany County related to his fraudulent conduct as a doctor.

The investigation that led to Hudson’s federal conviction was conducted by the Western New York Health Care Fraud Task Force, which includes the FBI, the State Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.


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