Ind. doctor nabbed in Italy gets 7 years in prison

Published: Friday, Oct. 12 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this undated file photo provided by FILE - In this undated file photo provided by "America's Most Wanted" web site shows Dr. Mark Weinberger of Merrillville, Ind. Weinberger is scheduled to be sentenced Friday Oct. 12, 2012 in Hammond, Indiana by U.S. District Judge Philip Simon, his second attempt at a plea deal. Simon rejected a plea deal last year that called for a four-year prison sentence, saying he was not confident it took into account the scope of Weinberger's crimes. (America's Most Wanted, Associated Press)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A former Indiana surgeon captured in Italy after five years on the run has been sentenced to seven years in prison for health care fraud.

A federal judge who sentenced Mark Weinberger on Friday said imposed a relatively lengthy sentence because Weinberger fled and because of the trouble he caused his former patients and employees a lot of problems.

Weinberger pleaded guilty in July to 22 counts of health care fraud. He once ran a nose and sinus clinic in Merrillville, where prosecutors say he billed insurers and patients for procedures he didn't perform.

He vanished during a 2004 European vacation and was captured in December 2009 on an Italian mountainside, where authorities say he had been living in a tent.

Weinberger apologized for his actions during Friday's hearing.

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