Local July 5, 2017 | 7:08 pm

Melgen’s riches-to-rags defense: Palm Beach Post

Santo Domingo.- “Wearing a blue prison jumpsuit and a wan smile, Dr. Salomon Melgen on Tuesday bore little resemblance to the wildly successful retinal specialist who befriended politicians and raked in millions while treating roughly a hundred patients a day at clinics in Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties,”  the Palm Beach Post reported Wed.

It said that while Melgen’s appearance has changed since he was convicted in April of 67 charges of health-care fraud in connection with a US$105 million Medicare-fraud scheme,” federal prosecutors insisted the 62-year-old eye doctor is still enormously rich.”

“But even though a federal magistrate recognized Melgen’s wealth, he suggested that the doctor may have to declare he is indigent and get taxpayers to pay for a consultant to help him get far less than a 20-year term when he is sentenced Aug. 11, reports the outlet based in South Florida.

“You can foot the bill or file a petition for Dr. Melgen to be declared (indigent),” the newspaper reports, quoting U.S. Magistrate James Hopkins telling Melgen’s lawyer at the conclusion of a contentious two-hour hearing to determine whether the doctor’s US$18 million bond package would be returned to him and his cash-strapped family.

“With his millions in cash, property and securities tied up in the unusual bond package and his lawyer claiming they have blown through the estimated $7.5 million he paid for his defense, Melgen has a cash flow problem,” the Palm Beach Post writes, adding: The only way to solve it, Hopkins suggested, is to have taxpayers pay the US$10,000 Melgen’s lawyers want to spend to hire the Virginia-based Justice Advocacy Group to help the physician win a reduced sentence.

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