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Second prison sentence for crooked US doctor

A former US surgeon, who pretended to be a licensed physician after being released from prison in March 2017, has been sentenced again, with the attorney for the Southern District of New York saying he “abused our healthcare system for his own personal profit again”.

Spyros Panos had pleaded guilty to health care fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in October 2020, reports the Poughkeepsie Journal.

In his recent appearance in court, the 54-year-old was sentenced by US District Judge Kenneth Karas to nine years and three months in prison and three years of post-release supervision.

Previously, the doctor had pleaded guilty to one count of felony healthcare fraud in November 2013 and admitted to running a multi-million-dollar scheme that defrauded multiple health insurance providers. He was released after serving less than three years of his 4½-year sentence.

The US Attorney’s Office said the crimes that led to the fraudster’s second prison sentence began before he pleaded guilty initially.

After he had been indicted and had surrendered his licence to practice medicine, he defrauded six medical peer review companies while out on release, impersonating a licensed orthopaedic surgeon practising in Westchester County, the office said.

He resumed the scheme after being released from prison, ultimately defrauding the companies of $876 389.97.

False documents submitted

The defence exhibits he submitted for his trial in 2020 included fraudulent emails and records.

After pleading guilty, his sentencing was originally scheduled for 16 March 2021. But he made false claims of testing positive for Covid-19 and suffering from Covid-related pneumonia to support requests to adjourn the sentencing, the office said, which ultimately led to the court to revoke his bail and take him into custody in July 2022.

Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said “the sentence he received appropriately reflects the seriousness of his crime and of recidivism in the eyes of the law”.

In 2019, a settlement of $140m was granted to 255 plaintiffs who sued Panos for medical malpractice, according to attorney JT Wisell of Wisell and McGee. Some of the lawsuits dated back to 2009. He was accused of botching surgeries, doing unnecessary surgeries on healthy patients and more.

The settlement amount represented “total vindication for people who were lied to by Panos”, Wisell said at the time.


Poughkeepsie Journal article – Spyros Panos, former doctor who defrauded residents, companies, sentenced again to prison (Open access)


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