Virginia doctor guilty on 52 counts of healthcare fraud, performing unnecessary hysterectomies

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NORFOLK, VA – Javaid Perwaiz, a longtime Virginia OB-GYN, has been convicted of 52 counts of insurance fraud for performing unnecessary hysterectomies and other surgeries. 

Perwaiz practiced medicine in the Hampton Roads region for nearly four decades. According to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia, Perwaiz faces a maximum sentence of 465 years in prison. His attorneys did not respond to a request for comment.

Karl Schumann, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Norfolk field office, said in a statement:

“Doctors are in positions of authority and trust and take an oath to do no harm to their patients. With unnecessary, invasive medical procedures, Dr. Perwaiz not only caused enduring complications, pain and anxiety to his patients, but he assaulted the most personal part of their lives and even robbed some of their future.”

The FBI arrested Perwaiz last fall after an investigation found the doctor had been carrying out a healthcare fraud scheme since 2010. This ruse included performing diagnostic procedures with broken equipment and by falsely claiming patients had cancer.

At the time of his arrest, Perwaiz had admitting privileges at Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. Additionally, he owned two private practice offices in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Perwaiz faced 61 fraud counts covering 25 patients, most of whom he saw from 2015 to 2019. The FBI created a website because so many women came forward after his arrest in November.

This news shocked many of his patients.

Many women said they feel betrayed by Perwaiz, ashamed for trusting the doctor, and angered to learn about his past.

His past indiscretions include a conviction for tax fraud and termination for surgical misconduct.

Others are exasperated because they attempted to raise red flags about Perwaiz for years.

Perwaiz’s trial in federal court in Norfolk provided these women a chance to see the doctor confronted about both the physical and emotional pain prosecutors say his patients endured.

To many patients, Perwaiz portrayed the ideal doctor: kind, soft-spoken, affirming, and endorsed by women they trusted.

Over a nearly 40-year career in the Hampton Roads area, he treated women at his two private-practice offices and at least three hospitals.

His website touted his surgical skills as “unparalleled.” Perwaiz offered same-day appointments and accepted most insurance providers, including Medicaid. He cared for multiple generations in families.

Jo Anne Lindsay, 74, a patient for nearly 20 years, said:

“I would see him in the grocery store, and he would give me a hug and ask, ‘How are the babies?’ He was a family friend.”

Perwaiz delivered Lindsay’s grandchildren. Additionally, he remained a valued customer at the Mercedes-Benz dealership where her husband worked. She stood by Perwaiz and described him as a professional, caring physician.

Perwaiz’s lawyer, Lawrence Woodward Jr., told the Associated Press last fall that he received “a multitude” of emails from Perwaiz’s patients praising him.

Woodward said:

“His life has been his work.”

But prosecutors say the man known to many as a committed town doctor misled women about their health.

Perwaiz became an OB-GYN and established his private practice in 1982. Patients soon called his surgeries into question.

According to state records, while on staff at Maryview Hospital, Perwaiz allegedly performed 11 hysterectomies on women in their 20s, 30s, and early 40s without a medical reason. The hospital fired Perwaiz, citing:

“Poor clinical judgment, unnecessary surgery, lack of documentation, and discrepancies in recordkeeping.”

The Virginia Board of Medicine, which took up the allegations, had the power to revoke or suspend Perwaiz’s license. Instead, it chose to censure him.

The board chastised his inadequate note-taking and condemned his “lack of judgment” for engaging in a sexual relationship with a patient.

In a 1984 letter describing its decision, the board did not address the claim that Perwaiz performed unnecessary surgeries, nor did it place limitations on his license. The documents do not say whether Perwaiz refuted the allegations.

Over the next decade, the doctor grew his private practice and saw patients at two other hospitals, including Chesapeake General Hospital, where in 1995 he became president-elect of the obstetric staff.

Authorities charged Perwaiz for federal tax fraud for allegedly making $158,300 in personal purchases, including Oriental rugs, lingerie, and porcelain fixtures that he deducted as business expenses on his taxes. Perwaiz bought a Mercedes-Benz and a red Ferrari, claiming them as “business malpractice insurance,” and an ultrasound machine.

He pleaded guilty to two of six counts, a conviction that again brought him before the Board of Medicine in 1996. His guilty plea automatically revoked his medical license, but the board reinstated it—this time with stipulations and supervision.

Perwaiz’s admitting privileges were reinstated at Chesapeake General, now known as Chesapeake Regional Medical Center. Perwaiz returned as a staff member at Maryview Hospital, which monitored his surgical cases. The hospital later changed its name to Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center and named Perwaiz its obstetrics and gynecology chair.

Authorities said Perwaiz was affiliated with both hospitals at the time of his arrest last fall.

A spokesperson for Maryview declined to answer questions about Perwaiz’s surgical cases. The spokesperson said the hospital is conducting an internal investigation.

The attorney, Jason R. Davis, said the hospital has an “established and thorough system” for evaluating doctors with admitting privileges.

The Board of Medicine also holds those powers, but records show that Perwaiz did not tangle with them again after 1999, with a fully reinstated license.

The Board of Medicine said in a letter at the time:

“The Board wishes you well in your future endeavors.”

Years later, Virginia required all board-certified doctors to report felony convictions to their profile page on the Board of Medicine website, where their appearances before the board are listed.

 

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The U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia didn’t say how many women in total were allegedly mistreated by Perwaiz. However, in a recent trial memorandum, prosecutors wrote:

“The identified patients are only ‘examples’ of the scheme to defraud.”

The case, which authorities launched in 2018 after a hospital employee’s tip, first hinged on one charge of healthcare fraud and false statements. Federal prosecutors said Perwaiz executed an “extensive scheme” spanning nearly a decade endangering women’s pregnancies, robbing them of their ability to conceive, and pressuring them into unnecessary procedures based on unfounded cancer diagnoses and exams using broken equipment.


The more procedures Perwaiz performed, authorities said, the more money he made off insurance companies, which, according to a prosecutors’ trial memorandum, was “to support his lavish lifestyle.”

Perwaiz pleaded not guilty and refused to publicly answer questions.

Defense attorneys said he is “prepared to defend himself at trial.” His lawyers in the criminal case argued unsuccessfully in numerous motions to dismiss that, among other things, some charges were duplicative.

Like patients, health insurers also trusted him.

He billed them for hundreds of thousands of dollars for phantom medical procedures, according to his indictment.

He billed for hysteroscopies, a procedure used to view inside a woman’s uterus during examinations, when either he used a broken scope or did not have the materials in his office to perform the procedure.

They contend he billed for colposcopies, a procedure to view the cervix, and wrote abnormal findings on patients’ charts. Yet he didn’t use the solution that would allow him to see those abnormalities. Additionally, he billed for unnecessary hysterectomies.

They say he falsified medical charts of “unsuspecting patients” to justify high volumes of unnecessary surgeries — including hysterectomies, dilation and curettages, and the removal of ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Perwaiz “frequently” rushed women into permanent sterilization procedures by inaccurately saying the procedure could be “easily reversed.” The doctor backdated sterilization consent forms to make it appear as though his patients signed them 30 days before their operations, a Medicaid requirement, when they had not.

Prosecutors contended Perwaiz often induced labor for pregnant patients before they were due on Saturdays at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center, where he scheduled surgeries. He did this without a medical reason to align with his hospital shift.

Witnesses described a frenzied environment where hospital staff struggled to keep pace with Perwaiz as he rushed from procedure to procedure. This way, he earned money making deliveries.

Between 2010 and 2019, Perwaiz billed insurance companies more than $2.3 million for gynecological care partially justified by diagnostic procedures he never performed.

In testimony earlier in the trial, an investigator for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield said that, over a decade, more than 41% of Perwaiz’s patients had surgical procedures compared with 7.6% for the other 628 obstetricians/gynecologists that billed the company.

Several malpractice suits remain pending against Perwaiz, who had two offices in Chesapeake, south of Norfolk, and privileges at Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.

Given that he had faced allegations of surgical misconduct decades earlier, some patients wondered why that volume of surgeries didn’t draw scrutiny sooner.

However, he did defend himself.

Perwaiz testified that he altered consent forms and changed due dates to benefit his patients, not line his pockets. He told jurors in U.S. District Court that he ignored congressionally mandated regulations requiring patients to wait 30 days after signing a sterilization consent form by having them sign an undated form. Instead, he backdated the documents, sometimes performing sterilizations within days of seeing a patient.

He told jurors:

“Yes, I knew the 30-day requirement. I just couldn’t say no. I’m an advocate for my patients.”

He said he performed the sterilizations in contradiction to the requirement to benefit his patients. Often, they discussed sterilization with doctors who referred them. They told him, he testified, that their insurance would run out if he waited or that they could not get a ride or a babysitter on other dates.

Asked during cross-examination if he could name which of the patients in the indictments told him that their insurance was running out, Perwaiz could not.

In a full day of testimony, Perwaiz, led by defense lawyer Emily Munn, defended the care he gave to the two dozen patients named in the 61 counts against him.

In case after case, she broadcast his medical charts and the form he filed with Chesapeake Regional Medical Center before surgery. The charts, identified by the initials of the women prosecutors charge he operated on unnecessarily, D.B., D.P., A.G., T.D.C., A.F., A.N. S.N., D.B.D, and by their age and the complaints they wrote down. Several women who testified previously claimed the charts were false.

In case after case, Perwaiz explained that the women’s complaints, often pelvic pain, bleeding, and cramping, justified his procedures. Frequently, he said, women asked him to be sterilized. In none of the cases of women named in the indictments, Perwaiz said, did he refer them to other doctors after finding evidence of cancer.

During cross-examination by Elizabeth Yusi, an assistant U.S. attorney, Perwaiz said he changed the due dates for patients not for his convenience but because he relied on a “range” of possible dates from several ultrasound examinations.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and Chesapeake hospital guidelines advise against inducing labor before 39 weeks without a medical reason, saying it leads to health problems for the baby. Chesapeake Regional Medical Center prohibited inducing labor before 39 weeks without a medical reason.

Perwaiz said his research indicated no reason for that policy. He told Yusi:

“There is no difference in immediate morbidity and mortality. I find it not understandable that we enforce 39 weeks.”

He conceded that for each of the six patients with seven deliveries named in the indictments, his recalculation of the “range” indicated by ultrasounds produced an earlier date than the most initial ultrasound. Doctors consider this the most accurate.

In the case of A.B., who delivered two babies with Perwaiz, her due date for a 2018 pregnancy changed from Sept. 15 to Sept. 8, and he induced her on Sept. 1, when she was at 38 weeks. Her original due date for a second pregnancy was Nov. 10, 2019, later changed to Nov. 2. Perwaiz induced her on Oct. 26 at less than 38 weeks. Both delivery dates were Saturdays when Perwaiz scheduled surgeries at the hospital.

Munn asked how many of the 33 patients whose babies he delivered during 2019 before his arrest did the doctor induce labor. Perwaiz avoided answering, saying that he did his calculation based on a range of possible due dates. He testified that “only a few” did not deliver on Saturdays when he was already at the hospital.

Due dates weren’t the only information Perwaiz testified that he changed on charts.

When staff members recorded a high blood pressure reading on patients, a potentially dangerous condition for pregnant women, they recorded it by writing it only on a sticky note on the chart per Perwaiz’s requirement.

Perwaiz then rechecked the blood pressure, entering a lower number representing an average reading. Asked why he didn’t admonish staffers or get them training, Perwaiz said he never considered it.

He explained:

“I knew I was going to do it myself.”

He changed the results on glucose tolerance tests from high to satisfactory after speaking with patients. He testified they told him they had not been able to abide by the fasting requirements. Besides, he added, during the few times he sent them for a more extended three-hour test, “most of the time, it would be normal.” Glucose tolerance tests diagnose potential gestational diabetes, which can be a risk to mother and baby during pregnancy.

During cross-examination by Yusi, Perwaiz said he hired only women to work in his office, usually without any previous medical-care experience. Rather than have patients fill out a form with their health history and complaints or have a staff member take that information, Perwaiz entered it himself.

He said he never used monitors inside operating rooms that projected his procedures so those assisting could view because they were not available when he trained. He tried them but didn’t have the eye-hand coordination required. He testified during questioning by Munn that doing operations with the screens was not as safe and took longer.

Prosecutors say the fraud scheme supported a lavish lifestyle that included purchasing a pair of Mercedes-Benz cars, a Jaguar, a $4,000 fur coat, and a $1,000 pen. Perwaiz denied that during testimony, though he conceded:

“I like shopping.”

In addition to the criminal case, several malpractice suits are pending against Perwaiz. He testified that he never attempted to hide his tax conviction and that he didn’t reveal the Maryview disciplinary action to insurers because it slipped his mind. He testified: 

“The only thing on my mind was the most recent one. It was not intended to hide anything.”

Former patients testified about the enduring physical and emotional pain from hysterectomies and other surgeries that permanently changed their bodies. On the stand, nurses who worked at hospitals with Perwaiz said they repeatedly complained about the doctor to their supervisors.

A federal jury deliberated for two and a half days before finding Perwaiz guilty of 52 of the 61 counts prosecutors brought against him.

The jury found him not guilty of three counts of healthcare fraud, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and three counts of making false statements related to healthcare matters. The jury was unable to determine a verdict on one count.

Perwaiz’s license to practice medicine in Virginia expired in March.

Judge Rebecca Beach Smith, of the U.S. District Court in Norfolk, presided over the criminal trial.

Many of the women in the trial and outside of the trial struggled with Perwaiz’s treatment. One such woman was identified only as M.C.

Over nearly 15 years, M.C. had annual checkups with Perwaiz. Every time she saw him, she left with a date for surgery.

She first came under his care in 2006 when she was 42, an immigrant from South Korea with a seventh-grade education and a limited understanding of English.

The surgeries started that year and ended only in 2015. Each time, M.C.’s handwritten medical chart reported that she complained of pelvic and back pain, bad cramps, frequent and prolonged periods, or something growing in her vagina.

She said:

“I never said that.”

When the patient asked Perwaiz why she needed surgery, he told her about an abnormal growth in her uterus that could be cancer.

She testified:

“I was told this lump will keep on growing each time it was removed. If I do not take care of this, then it would spread very rapidly and cause cancer.”

He operated in 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, and 2015. During the 2012 surgery, he performed a hysterectomy, removing M.C.’s uterus and left ovary but left the right ovary intact. In 2015, according to her testimony, she voiced no complaints during her checkup, but Perwaiz told her she needed another surgery. This time, he removed her remaining ovary.

Each time he told her that surgery was necessary, she believed him. She told jurors:

“He’s my doctor. I have to trust him.”

M.C. was among the patients who testified that they trusted Perwaiz when he told them they needed invasive procedures over the years.

Another woman, known as W.H.W., became a patient of Perwaiz when referred after an abnormal pap smear in 2017. She’s a 58-year-old Portsmouth woman. During that visit, she confided a fear of cancer. There was a family history, including her father, she told him.

Within days, Perwaiz claimed to have done several office procedures, including hysteroscopy and colposcopy. Prosecutors showed her pictures of the equipment used to perform each one.

She said:

“I’ve never seen anything like that.”

The doctor did perform a dilation and curettage. There was terrible news. She testified:

“He said he saw lots of cancer cells.”

Prosecutors entered into evidence a pathology report showing that all five samples taken during the procedure indicated benign cells.

During an April 2018 visit, her chart indicated that she complained about pelvic and back pain and said she refused the examination. W.H.W. denied that she refused to be examined or suffered from pelvic pain. Perwaiz ordered an ultrasound and then told her she needed a hysterectomy.

When he said he intended to do a deeper C-section cut, she nervously asked about the effect on her sex life with her husband. She testified:

“He [Perwaiz] said he will like it better.”

Perwaiz performed the surgery in July 2018. But the resulting complications have left her incontinent, and she visited a specialist desperate for a solution.

The specialist said:

“There’s nothing I can do.”

He sent her back to Perwaiz.

The complications endure, including blood in her urine.

Another patient, Shamai Watkins, first started seeing Perwaiz for her annual exams, she said, when he told her a pap smear revealed cancerous cells. The diagnosis kicked off a string of surgeries that left her feeling a stabbing, twisting pain.

Perwaiz blamed the pain on fibroids and said the only solution was a hysterectomy.

She agreed but later learned he had persuaded her with misleading information about her reproductive organs. The surgery took away her ability to have another child and did not eliminate the pain.

A former patient decided legal action against Perwaiz.

The last time Brittni DuPuy-German saw her trusted gynecologist, she explained the stabbing, mystery pain in her abdomen had not gone away.

It first appeared two years earlier, after she said her doctor, Perwaiz, surgically tied her tubes.

To fix it, he had proposed more surgery. Three additional procedures in nine months that she said included a hysterectomy when she was 29. The pain persisted.

On Nov. 8, 2019, at his private-practice office, Perwaiz and DuPuy-German discussed the possibility of yet another surgery. He scheduled an ultrasound for just days later, a sign of the efficiency that DuPuy-German had come to expect from her family’s longtime gynecologist. He was her mother’s doctor, her sister-in-law’s doctor, and her best friend’s doctor.

Perwaiz had delivered DuPuy-German and delivered her children.

When her phone buzzed the day after her appointment, she was shocked by the headline she was reading:

“Chesapeake doctor tied women’s tubes, performed hysterectomies without their consent, feds say.”

She absorbed the details of the F.B.I. investigation. The news report said federal officials accused DuPuy-German’s doctor of lying to patients and persuading them to have life-altering surgeries they didn’t need. DuPuy-German began doubting everything Perwaiz had told her about her own body.

She said:

“That’s when all of the things that I didn’t question before started popping up.”

DuPuy-German has received few answers to those questions, even as the FBI’s investigation expanded, and the list of alleged victims grew. There are 29 patients specified in court documents and hundreds of others who contacted authorities after the doctor’s arrest.

DuPuy-German, now 32, is not cited in the criminal case but has filed a lawsuit against Perwaiz. She contends that the system failed, alleging in the suit that hospitals have the responsibility to be:

“The best, and possibly only, check on incompetent surgeons in the medical community.”

While the sentencing made his punishment feel concrete, the conviction felt validating. DuPuy-German said:

“At least it’s done; he is found guilty. It kind of hits you, like, this is real, this did happen.”

She continued:

“Had I ever heard anywhere that he was punished, I definitely would have gotten other opinions before rushing into surgery. But I didn’t know.”

In the weeks after Perwaiz’s arrest, DuPuy-German checked in with women in her life who were also his patients. Her mother told her she had undergone dozens of procedures over the decades. And her sister-in-law said she believes Perwaiz may have removed an ovary and fallopian tube without her knowledge.

At the same time, DuPuy-German began revisiting her own experiences. Like the women described in news reports, DuPuy-German was on Medicaid. Like them, she had never seen her ultrasound images or been offered medication as an alternative to surgery.

She said her appointments always followed the same swift routine: checkup one week, ultrasound the next, surgery days later.

She texted her friend:

“Makes me wonder …”

DuPuy-German, like hundreds of others, requested her medical records.

Still confused by her mystery pain, she found a new doctor and was stunned by what she learned. DuPuy-German said her new physician told her that, according to her charts, Perwaiz had diagnosed her with endometriosis, a painful disorder in which tissue that usually lines the uterus grows outside of it. DuPuy-German said she had no idea.

DuPuy-German said:

“[Perwaiz] didn’t give me a plan of what he was going to do. I just blindly trusted him.”

Perwaiz’s trial outcome won’t change the fact that DuPuy-German still has pain in her abdomen.

Weeks of medication made no difference, and her new doctor told her the cramping could result from nerve damage from the surgeries performed by Perwaiz. Physical therapy helped some, but the pain may be permanent.

DuPuy-German said:

“I don’t know what was really wrong with me. Nobody knows what he really did.”

But DuPuy-German never knew to look or question her doctor.

The best advice to prevent becoming a victim is to check up on the doctor.

Patients often select doctors based on family and friends’ recommendations, distance from their house, or participation in their health insurer’s network.

Below is a list of resources for researching doctors. Knowing whether a professional licensing board has sanctioned a doctor should be another essential part of the search.

Doctors can be disciplined for criminal convictions, medical negligence, wrongly prescribing controlled substances, and other wrongdoing.

Even with a disciplinary record, many doctors continue to practice. Some even change states. Although hospitals have access to a federal database to look up doctors’ disciplinary histories in every state, the public cannot access it.

To find information about a doctor, the best place to start is the state medical board’s license lookup page. Each state has a different process for looking up doctors and getting disciplinary records if there are any.

Some states provide full disciplinary histories online, including legal documents about violations and subsequent board actions. Others charge a fee or require a public records request.

Patients may search the Federation of State Medical Boards’ DocInfo for specific doctors’ disciplinary history in every state. For nondisciplinary license information, patients in 17 participating states may also look up doctors in Administrators In Medicine’s DocFinder.

Start by Checking a Doctor’s Credentials:

 Do they have a valid doctor’s license?

  1. Look on your State Medical Board website. 
  • Choose a license type.
  • You can search by name, license number, or location (using the advanced search)
  1. Are they board-certified? The main boards are:
  1. Are they licensed in other states?

Click here to see if your doctor is licensed in one or more of the 50 states. 

Check Consumer Advocate Websites and Courts:

  1. Patient Safety League
  2. ProPublica – Vital Signs

Check if the Doctor Has Been Sued:

– This may require a few searches and some creativity.

  1. Google is usually a good place to start by combining your doctor’s name with search terms like “lawsuit” or “malpractice.”
  2. You can also search the Superior Court website for your county.

Doctor Rating Websites:

These can be a source of good information, but the information may or may not be reliable. It also may not be complete and can be potentially influenced by paid marketing companies.

Finally, consider that if something doesn’t feel right, it might be a bad idea.

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