A Michigan doctor who once lost his medical license for insurance fraud was sentenced to 15 months in prison on charges of filing a false federal income tax return, but his conviction could force another, nationally recognized physician out of medical practice.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gadola in Detroit imposed the prison term on Jason Hollady, M.D., despite a request from Hollady's partner, Kristianna Matthewis, M.D., that he be allowed to continue working.
Matthewis is blind. Hollady was the only physician to offer her a job after she completed her family practice residency at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, she said in a letter to Gadola dated July 30.
Hollady informed Matthewis in January that he might be going to prison. Since then, Matthewis said, she has not been able to find another physician willing to join her at the Durand (Mich.) Clinic, where she has worked since January 2001.
"I do not know of any of the specifics regarding Dr. Hollady's case, but I do know if he is not at the Durand Clinic I will not be able to practice medicine," Matthewis wrote. "My practice is dependent upon someone to help me in the areas requiring sight."
Gadola ruled that under federal sentencing guidelines, Hollady was not eligible for work release or other alternatives to prison because of his insurance fraud conviction, Stephen Moore, an Internal Revenue Service spokesman, said Thursday.
Matthewis said in her letter to Gadola that, despite being born blind, she completed studies at the University of Colorado School of Medicine before her residency at Sparrow. She was inducted into the National Hall of Fame for Persons with Disabilities in 2001.
Hollady's imprisonment "will cause (Matthewis) to stop her practice and will also cause damage to their patients who will have to seek other doctors," Hollady's attorney, Charles Grossmann of Flint, Mich., said in a memo to Gadola dated Tuesday.
But, Moore said, "Dr. Hollady brought this situation on himself."
Gadola on Thursday also fined Hollady $25,000. As part of a plea agreement, Hollady already has paid the IRS $108,310 in back taxes from 1996 and 1997, Moore said.
Hollady, 49, was indicted in September 2003 on two counts of tax evasion. He pleaded guilty in April to an amended charge of filing a false individual 1996 income tax return.
Hollady was charged in December 1999 with 32 counts of filing false health insurance claims, obtaining money under false pretenses and conspiring to obtain money under false pretenses. He was sentenced in December 2001 to nine months in prison.
The insurance fraud conviction led to the suspension of Hollady's medical license for six months. It was restored in June, Moore said.
Messages left Thursday evening at the Durand Clinic and Grossmann's office were not returned.