A federal judge has approved a settlement of $8 million for 43 victims of cancer doctor Farid Fata, according to the victims' attorneys.
Federal Judge Paul Borman was tasked with deciding how 553 victims of Fata would split $12 million that the government seized from his assets. On Wednesday, attorneys said that he ruled 43 civil cases of malpractice and fraud were settled for $8 million and would be held in escrow until an arbitrator divides the funds this fall.
Dr. Farid Fata, the former oncologist apologized when he pleaded guilty to giving cancer treatment to those that didn't need it, back in July of last year. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison after being convicted of fraud, money laundering and conspiracy.
One attorney called Wednesday's decision a 'hollow victory' because there is no amount of money that is enough to compensate the victims and what they went through.
"I have a 92-year-old mother who, for those five years, she took me to chemo," said Charles Charter.
Nearly five years of intense chemotherapy he says he never needed in the first place, 63-year-old Charles Charter of Waterford recalls those hundreds of hours spent in former Dr. Farid Fata's office with tears Wednesday, learning he's one of 43 patients receiving part of the $8 million settlement.
"He put people through hell and this litigation has really been a living hell for these victims as well," said attorney Brian McKeen.
After 10 months of negotiations the settlement was reached Wednesday afternoon in Oakland County. Although the attorneys for victims like Charter are calling it a hollow victory.
"The sad truth is there is not enough money in this world to compensate these people for what they've gone through," said attorney Donna Mackenzie.
Fata, is now sitting in jail. Charter says Fata once was a person he thought he could trust. Fata calls Charter his "miracle patient," but Charter, learning years later that he wasn't the only one.
"They trusted him because he told them things like 'If you don't do this, you're going to die," Mackenzie said.
Charter got a tumor removed in 2008 and says he went to Fata for chemo afterward. And he later learned he only needed six months of chemo. But Fata, until his arrest, required it for years.
Some weeks Charter says he was in his office every day. Now, Charter is on permanent disability and he has problems, even buttoning his shirts.
"I have a compromised bladder, kidney, severe neuropathy in my hands feet and legs."
Fata's name Wednesday sparks feelings of anger, then sadness. For Charter, thinking of the many other victims and can't help but ask himself "why."
He says he hopes this is a step to moving on.
"(I'm thankful) just to be around and enjoy the years I have left," he said.