Perwaiz had been practicing medicine in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia for nearly 40 years. He was arrested last fall by the FBI after an investigation revealed that he had been conducting a health care fraud scheme since 2010.
The scheme involved performing diagnostic procedures using broken equipment and falsely claiming that patients had cancer. The doctor had admitting privileges at Chesapeake Regional Medical Center and Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center in addition to owning two private practice offices in Chesapeake.
He faced 61 counts of fraud covering 25 patients. So many women came forward following his arrest that the FBI had to create a website devoted to the case. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia says that he is facing a maximum sentence of 465 years in prison.
The case was launched in 2018 following a tip from a hospital employee. Investigators found he had been carrying out an extensive scheme for nearly a decade that put women's pregnancies in danger, rendered them unable to conceive and pressured them into procedures they did not need based on unfounded cancer diagnoses and exams that used broken equipment. Performing all of these extra procedures enabled him to make a lot of money off of insurance companies to support his lavish lifestyle.
In some cases, he would bill for procedures that he never carried out or diagnose women with abnormal findings despite not performing the type of tests needed to make such diagnoses. He also falsified medical charts to justify unneeded procedures like D&Cs, hysterectomies and the removal of women's Fallopian tubes and ovaries.
He also rushed women into undergoing permanent sterilization procedures by lying that the procedure could be easily reversed. He also induced labor in pregnant patients so that their deliveries would align with his hospital shift.
One investigator testified that throughout a decade, more than 41 percent of his patients underwent surgical procedures, compared to just 7.6% of the 628 other OB/GYNs that billed Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Many of his victims say that they felt betrayed by him and were ashamed for trusting him. Others expressed frustration after trying to raise red flags about him for years. The doctor came across as soft-spoken and many of his patients had enthusiastically recommended him to friends and family.
However, state records show that while he was on staff at Maryview Hospital, he allegedly performed nearly a dozen hysterectomies on women in their 20s, 30s and 40s without a medical reason. This led to his firing from the hospital for “poor clinical judgment, unnecessary surgery, lack of documentation, and discrepancies in recordkeeping.”
At the time, although the Virginia Board of Medicine could have suspended or revoked his license, it decided instead to censure him and condemn his lack of judgment for carrying out a sexual relationship with a patient.
He was also previously charged with federal tax fraud for $158,300 in personal purchases that included Oriental rugs, porcelain fixtures and lingerie as well as a Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari that he claimed as “business malpractice insurance."
At that time, he pleaded guilty on two of the six counts, which could have resulted in his medical license being automatically revoked, but the Board of Medicine reinstated it with stipulations and supervision instead. His admitting privileges were reinstated, and he was able to continue carrying out his scheme.
Many of his victims have testified about the physical and emotional pain his acts caused them, with some now unable to have children or dealing with permanent effects like pain and incontinence.
Cases like this underscore the importance of researching doctors before seeing them. You can look on your state medical board's license lookup page to see if there are any disciplinary records or violations, although availability does vary by state. You can also look at consumer advocate websites and search online to see if the doctor has ever been sued for malpractice. It’s also a good idea to get a second opinion, especially when a doctor is pushing for a major operation.
Sources for this article include: