WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- How far would you go to help out a friend?
It appears Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey was using his powers in the senate to help out his friend in Florida, Doctor Salomon Melgen. A Washington Post report released Wednesday night reveals new details into the friendship between the two.
According to the report , Sen. Menendez reached out to federal officials back in 2009 about the government's audit of Dr. Melgen.
The audit found that the doctor over-billed Medicare by $8.9 million. The agency ordered Melgen to pay the money back, according to the Washington Post , but Melgen disputed the claim. The appeal still continues to this day.
The article goes on to explain that last year the senator urged U.S. officials to push the Dominican Republic to carry out a multi-million dollar agreement when Dr. Melgen needed help with a port security contract. Melgen is from the Dominican Republic and frequents the island where he has a home.
According to the Washington Post , federal investigators and health-care auditors have been looking into Melgen's practice several time over the past ten years. The report shows they've been examining the number of eye injections, surgeries and laser treatments performed at the West Palm Beach clinic.
One of Menendez's aids says the senator did not know about the investigation for possible fraud until the raid that happened last week.
The report shows that federal auditors said Melgen billed the government three to four times for injections from a single vial used for eye injections. Medicare reimburses providers $2,000 for each vial, so the doctor was billion $6,000 to $8,000 for each vial, according to the Post.
Melgen's attorneys claim the doctor was properly billing Medicare.
When asked for comments regarding Doctor Melgen, other doctors in South Florida told the newspaper they were afraid to criticize the doctor publicly because his "Washington connections may be protecting him."
To read the complete Washington Post report, click here .