Fla. Ophthalmologist charged in $7 million fraud case

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Central Florida ophthalmologist has been charged by a federal grand jury in one of the biggest ophthalmology cases in Florida's recent history.

David Ming Pon, 56, is accused of submitting false bills and records to a medicare billing center on Riverside Avenue in Jacksonville, which is why he was indicted in Jacksonville. He is charged with stealing more than $7 million from Medicare by falsely diagnosing and purporting to treat hundreds of seniors for eye diseases.

The suspect is accused of lying to patients between at least 2006 and 2011, according to First Coast News' partner the Florida Times-Union. The patients were reportedly told they suffered from wet macular degeneration and other retinal diseases that required laser surgery to prevent blindness.

The diagnosis and treatments took place at his practice at the Advanced Retina-Eye Institute in Leesburg in Lake County and a satellite office in Orlando. His license has been suspended since the investigation began last year after officials received complaints.

The T-U says that records don't indicate if any of Pon's patients suffered unnecessary harm because of the surgery.

Pon is temporarily detained without bond.

Federal prosecutors are seeking to recover more than $7 million, forfeitures of four homes in Orange County, and a Lexus and Porsche convertible. The T-U says a federal agent testified that Pon submitted around $72 million in claims to Medicare over the past 10 years.


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