Correspondent Rob Stafford is featuring the story of Indiana sinus surgeon, Dr. Mark Weinberger, who was accused of medical malpractice and insurance fraud.
In the years since he had opened his own practice, the "Nose Doctor" had recommended unnecessary nose procedures to his patients.
When the lawsuits against him piled up, Weinberger disappeared in Europe. He spent more than five years on the run from authorities before he was apprehended in a showdown that would rival any scripted TV drama.
While Weinberger was doing all that he could for years in order to evade capture, the former doctor is now a free man.
Mark Weinberger was accused of fraud and medical malpractice in 2004.
After attending medical school at UCLA, Mark Weinberger earned a fellowship at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He eventually opened his own practice in Merrillville, Ind. in 2002, and he specialized in sinus surgery. Known as the "Nose Doctor," Weinberger became a go-to for those seeking sinus operations. According to Vanity Fair, at least 90 percent of his patients were advised to get some sort of surgery done.
In several instances, Weinberger missed tumors in favor of performing sinus operations. A woman named Phyllis Barnes ultimately died from cancer resulting from a tumor that the doctor didn't see. Kayla Thomas was a young girl when Weinberger operated on her sinuses. She was suffering from a brain tumor at the time, which the "Nose Doctor" missed.
He was also accused of billing insurance companies for procedures he didn't do in order to get more money.
Weinberger lived an extravagant lifestyle, which included a multi-million dollar condominium in Chicago, and a staff of chauffeurs and housekeepers.
By 2004, Weinberger was dealing with several medical malpractice suits, and he was also accused of insurance fraud. In September of that year, he whisked his third wife, Michelle Kramer, off to Greece for her 30th birthday.
While the spouses of three years were celebrating on a yacht, Weinberger disappeared without a trace. He did not tell Kramer where he was going, and she later found out that he left her more than $6 million in debt.
Weinberger stayed on the run for years, and he was apprehended in the European Alps in 2009. His girlfriend at the time had reported his whereabouts after she saw him featured on an episode of America's Most Wanted.
Though he stabbed himself in the neck to avoid capture, he survived his injuries.
When he returned to the United States, Weinberger was facing over 300 malpractice lawsuits in Indiana.
He pleaded guilty to 22 counts of healthcare fraud in the summer of 2011.
Where is Mark Weinberger now? He was released from prison in 2019.
After his conviction, the defamed doctor was sentenced to 84 months behind bars, including time served.
According to The Chicago Tribune, Weinberger was released to a halfway house in 2014 after officially serving five years. He remained on a supervised release for two years.
He is now a free man, per NBC Chicago, and he is currently living in West Palm Beach.
Weinberger has reportedly gotten remarried, and he has two young children. He will turn 58 on May 22, 2021.
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