Dominican eye doctor to make fifth plea for bond today
Santo Domingo.– Lawyers representing Dominican-American doctor Salomon Melgen will return to federal court for a fifth time today to persuade a magistrate to set a bond so the ophthalmologist can be released from jail while awaiting trial on charges that he bilked Medicare out of US$105 million, palmbeachpost.com reported.
It said that at two hearings last week, U.S. Magistrate James Hopkinspointed out he wanted to put roadblocks in place to prevent the wealthy 61-year-old Palm Beach County doctor from returning to his native Dominican Republic. Noting that Melgen owns a villa, other property and bank accounts in his homeland, Hopkins said he wanted to put the foreign assets far from Melgen’s grasp, the outlet reported.
According to the report, Melgen is unlikely to attend. Last week, he told Hopkins he was in poor health. His ailments, he said, were exacerbated by early wake-up calls when he has to travel from a federal detention center in Miami to West Palm Beach for hearings.
The palmbeachpost.com said the struggle to set a bond revolves around Melgen’s wealth. While Melgen’s attorneys said he is worth US$19 million, federal prosecutors said the physician’s financial picture keeps changing, making it difficult for them to determine how much money he has.