Wealthy hospital owner, charged in surgery scam, wants bond reduced
KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter August 29, 2013 4:22PM
Sacred Heart Hospital | Sun-Times files
Updated: August 29, 2013 5:52PM
A West Side hospital owner who allegedly ran a ghoulish scam encouraging his doctors to perform unnecessary surgeries on poor and elderly patients is continuing to hide his “incredible wealth” from a federal judge, prosecutors allege.
Despite posting a $10 million cash bond in April, Sacred Heart Hospital CEO and owner Edward Novak has access to another $30 million, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel Hammerman told U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Martin during a hearing Thursday morning.
Novak — who’s accused of scamming Medicare and Medicaid by getting his doctors to do risky, medically unnecessary surgeries — wants most of his bail money back.
Urging Martin to reduce Novak’s bond to $1 million, Novak’s attorney Sergio Acosta said the millionaire’s income has fallen since the hospital closed and went into bankruptcy following his arrest, adding that the government’s case against Novak and five doctors he allegedly paid kickbacks to for phoney patient referrals is now “much weaker than it was in April.”
Wiretapped conversations Novak had with the two unnamed doctors at the heart of the case show Novak had patients’ best interests at heart, Acosta said.
But Hammerman disputed that, arguing that Novak continues to hide “offshore accounts” and is so wealthy he could afford to skip bail and write off $1 million in bail money as a “cost of freedom.”
Martin said he would rule on the bail issue by the end of next week.