The Latest: Sentencing begins for doc tied to US SenatorDecember 5, 2017 5:28pm

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on the sentencing hearing for a prominent Florida eye doctor accused of bribing U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey (all times local):

12:20 p.m.

Former patients critical of a prominent Florida eye doctor convicted of Medicare fraud told a judge that they were subjected to painful and unnecessary treatments that left them with little or no eyesight.

Anna Borgia told U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra during a sentencing hearing Tuesday that Dr. Salomon Melgen gave her painful injections and laser treatments for diabetes-related sight loss and glaucoma, and then botched a surgery that has left her almost totally blind. She said she prays Melgen gets a life sentence.

Randy Frick had his attorney read a letter accusing Melgen of "torturing" his 90-year-old mother with injections that another doctor later told him were unnecessary.

Others, however, spoke on Melgen's behalf, telling Marra that Melgen is a good and caring doctor who restored or maintained their sight. Nestor Garcia said Melgen partially restored his sight after three other doctors told him it was hopeless, treating him for free after his insurance company refused to pay.

Melgen is facing a possible life sentence after being convicted of stealing more than $100 million from the federal government. Separately, he is charged with bribing New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. 

Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year sentence. Melgen's attorneys want a sentence of less than 10 years

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11:15 a.m.

Attorneys for a prominent Florida eye doctor convicted of Medicare fraud called numerous patients and former employees to speak about his character in hopes of getting a reduced sentence.

They told U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra on Tuesday that Dr. Salomon Melgen is a caring physician who often treated patients for free. 

Melgen is facing a possible life sentence after being convicted of stealing more than $100 million from the federal government. Separately, he is charged with bribing New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. 

Prosecutors are seeking a 30-year sentence. Melgen's attorneys want a sentence of less than 10 years. 

5:02 a.m.

Attorneys for a prominent Florida eye doctor who became the nation's highest paid Medicare provider say he should get 10 years or less for fraud. Prosecutors say Dr. Saloman Melgen deserves 30 years, arguing that he stole more than $100 million from federal taxpayers.

U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra could put the 63-year-old doctor in prison for life.

The sentencing of Melgen is scheduled to begin Tuesday in West Palm Beach and could take three days. He was convicted on 67 counts in April.

Melgen also remains accused of bribing Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez. A federal jury in New Jersey failed to reach a verdict against the two men, and prosecutors haven't said whether they'll retry that case.

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