Oakton Dentist Convicted of Illegal Distribution, Fraud

Dr. Hamada Makarita is expected to appeal ruling

Dr. Hamada Makarita was convicted of health care fraud, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy and five counts of illegally distributing narcotics Friday.

The verdict, from a federal jury of the U.S District Court in Alexandria, comes after a seven-day trial in which both the defense and prosecution painted the trial as one about abuse of power. While the government argued it was the Oakton dentist who abused his power, the defense pointed the blame back at the government for abusing its power.

"This was an abuse of power, drugs, and women," U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia said in a statement. "Dr. Makarita's arrogance led him to believe that he could illegally distribute highly addictive drugs to others and get away with it."

But the case may be long from over, as Makarita's defense lawyers expect to file an appeal.

"The issues involved in this case are extremely important. Doctors across the country are following its developments," said Allan Robertson, who helped represent Makarita along with James Tate and Douglas Bywater of the Vienna firm Tate, Bywater and Fuller. "We expect to file an appeal at the appropriate time."

Makarita, 51, faced charges of  The dentist, who owns a practice on Chain Bridge Road in Oakton, pleaded not guilty to the charges in June.

The jury found Makarita guilty of conspiracy, health care fraud, aggravated identity theft and five counts of dispensing controlled substances. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison on the health care fraud charge, 20 years in prison for conspiracy and each dispensing controlled substances charge, and a consecutive two-year sentence for the aggravated identity theft charge, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

He was accused of illegally distributing narcotics to employees and two women he dated between 2007 and 2012 "without a legitimate dental purpose and beyond the bounds of a dental practice." Makarita was also accused of submitting insurance claims under another doctor's name for work he performed on his parents to receive more than $91,000 in reimbursements.

Makarita's sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Related Coverage

  • Dentist Trial: Lawyers Present Closing Arguments
  • Dentist Trial: Makarita Takes the Stand
  • Dentist Trial: Defense Attacks Former Employee's Credibility
  • Dentist Trial: Experts Begin Testimony for Prosecution
  • Dentist Trial: Both Sides Argue Abuse of Power
  • Oakton Dentist Pleads Not Guilty
  • Grand Jury Indicts Oakton Dentist on 15 Charges
  • Accused Dentist Says Witness Is Fired Employee
  • Oakton Dentist Arrested for Distributing Narcotics

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let's see November 17, 2012 at 11:55 AM
At the end of the day, it was HIS practice! And he hired the woman he was blaming not just once, but he hired her twice. On many levels this is sad, but not surprising. One cannot blame others as their sole defense.
A Shameful Crime November 17, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Nicole - if I am correct you have a degree in journalism I presume? From the very beginning your repeating has been one sides, missing facts, unethical and outside the very ABC ethics of Journalism. You have done enough harm that is so obvious co-siding with the prosecution who have committed a huge CRIME going after an innocent respected, prominent, highly successfully man and dentist bringing in all their witnesses with no credibility and with records and basically liars. Your reporting has been totally off. Who do you work for? Who is paying you? Have you heard the defense and all the expert and respected witnesses while you were present in that court room daily? Your reporting is just way unethical and wrongful. The government haw committed a CRIME allowing the real criminals testify and get away and they went after that truthful poised man who is a legendary in dentistry. Cont...
A Shameful Crime November 17, 2012 at 04:18 PM
This unfairness will be addresses in an appeal. This flaw in our judicial system will be addressed. Yesterday's verdicts were shucking. It doesn't take even a high school graduate much to have seen and heard and formed a smart opinion about who are the really criminals here. You too unfortunately as a reporter for whatever reason it may be, did a really awful job reporting from day one. So go ahead enjoy this thinking you have just written facts when you have assumed plenty despite your presence daily in that court room and everyone who has read everything about this case you have written is wondering who are you? Who do you work for? Do you understand reporting and journalism ABC ethics taught at college? I personally doubt it. You have wronged and one day after this case gets appealed and becomes a huge public issue of great concern and there's a huge buzz around it I wonder what side you'll be writing for. I'm personally ashamed for you and for the government and for the jury. You have all made huge and plenty of mistakes. Yet this isn't over. Losing one battle doesn't mean he lost the war. A war not just against him but against humanity and dentistry as one entity. Shame shame shame .... Believing a conartist and a porn star that you called a "fitness model" with porn Internet pictures and DVDs too. SHAME. But this ISN'T OVER!! Actually, this is just the beginning.
A Shameful Crime November 17, 2012 at 07:14 PM
That conartist has a record of pages. If she was able to fool the government she sure fooled him. She even stole her own kid's team money. He hired her again after she cried and begged. He had no idea what agendas she had or records, charges, nor did he even know she not only took drugs but dealt too and the laundry list continues. Lets not forget ALL the fraud, drug prescriptions, embezzemt she admitted to. So lets see here who is blaming. There's no room for blame. This is a CRIME not just committed by her because that's paty of whom she is, but she's that good she had the government fooled. Again, this isn't over. So brag all you want. Let's see how this unfolds for it will.
Another Long Time Patient November 17, 2012 at 07:56 PM
The jury consisted of a panel of lay people, who were required to decipher through x-rays, medical reports, prescription records, and other medical documentation, that was presented as evidence. The defense had a ton of evidence to prove that the prescriptions Dr. Makarita wrote, matched up with medical necessity, and were legitimate. How could a panel of lay people, not doctors or dentists, possibly have been able to make an educated decision? There seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to why they decided some meds were legitimate, and some were not. For instance, the con-artist we call Karen Derder, admitted on the stand, that she forged two of the prescriptions that he was charged with. Yet the jury said he was guilty for one of those prescriptions, and not guilty on the other. It makes no sense. Our justice system is seriously flawed. Sadly, justice was not served yesterday. This could have easily happened to any number of dentists, and there will be outrage across the country in the dental and medical communities. This is far from over, and an appeal will be filed in the near future.
A Shameful Crime November 17, 2012 at 08:44 PM
I couldn't agree with you more. As I said this is the beginning. The judicial system should appoint neutral professionals in any medical, dental or cases that lay people are not expected to comprehend its nuances. The defense had great expert witnesses that were explicit and adamantly addressed each charge and much more. It's amazing how the jury missed these testimonies and cross examinations. Dr. Makarita himself took the stand for one and a half days and thoroughly explained every single count through x-rays and clinical notes to the jury in lay people terminology. Yet these jurors failed to remember as they deliberated all that was said and explained hence the contradiction in two charges related to Karen D the expert con artist. An appeal is sure on the horizon.
John Highsmith November 18, 2012 at 04:28 PM
I don't know all the details, but I've know Dr. Makarita for years, and know him to be of the highest integrity and character. This can happen to any medical professional, if someone with an agenda goes through years of charts, you can find something that wasn't written down perfectly. This is very sad for all medical professionals. Hopefully on appeal justice will be served.
Another Long Time Patient November 18, 2012 at 05:49 PM
I happen to know some details of this case. I was present during the trial. The government looked through 5 years of his charts, all the way back to 2007. Dr. Makarita has over 2000 active patients. Of those, he wrote prescriptions to 296 patients in that same time frame, of over a total of 17, 000 appointments. They found only 4 charts where the treatment or prescription was not written. Two of them were employees (one was Karen Derder), and two were girlfriends. He explained on the stand, that it's not out of the ordinary to be less cautious about documentation for friends, family, and staff. Especially since he is the sole practitioner in his practice, and there is no need for detailed documentation, as there is no dentist coming in behind him to follow up with patients. Four expert witnesses, dentists, also testified, that this is not an abnormal practice. Omitting something from the chart is not against the law, and does not mean that the work was not done. He was found guilty of distribution of narcotics for procedures that seemed not to have a legitimate dental purpose, all because it was not written in the chart. However, the x-rays and many other abbreviated notations in the chart, that a jury of lay people would never be able to decipher, DID prove that treatment was rendered. Dr. Makarita is being prosecuted for just trying to take care of his patients. (continued)
Another Long Time Patient November 18, 2012 at 05:50 PM
This case would have never come about, had he never gone to the authorities to seek justice against Karen Derder, who admitted on the stand that she forged his signatures on many insurance checks, prescriptions, and committed insurance fraud. I have no idea how the jury came up with this verdict. Immediately after the verdict was read, the defense attorneys announced that they are going to file a motion for appeal. This is not over!
Jane Doe November 18, 2012 at 08:51 PM
I for "one" have decided to write a letter to Ms. Nicole's boss recommending her removal as a "journalist" for the Oakton Patch. We thought the injustices were just taking place in the courtroom...the obvious biased reporting regarding this case by Nicole Trifone is a travesty to all of the reporters that work so hard to report the unbiased FACTS. I am a well renouned reporter - MANY of you watch me on television, Yes, I said television. I am embarrassed for Ms. Trifone and would have removed her from the "oakton patch" shortly after this case began unfolding 8 months ago! Who is the owner of this paper? Who is your boss Ms. Trifone? Whomever they may be, they too should be FIRED for allowing this type of reporting to continue. This is a complicated case and required an expert reporter to handle coverage of such magnitude. You are talking about people's lives. Ms. Trifone I am appalled at your lack of Journalism skills or should I say lack there-of? You give journalists such as myself a bad name. You condemned this man and his family while taking the side of a proven convict, Ms. Karen Derder. Quite frankly, it appears you have a deep connection with the perpetrator herself. Are you friends? If so, you had no business taking this assignment. Do you know the damage you may have caused? Something you may want to ponder, knowing you may have played a part in the sentencing of a good man, dentist, father, son, brother, friend....
Another Long Time Patient November 19, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Dear Jane Doe, If you are who you say you are, and are a supporter of Dr. Makarita's, I would suggest contacting his attorneys. I'm sure they would appreciate your help! I believe the name of their firm has been contained in some of these articles on the Patch.
A Shameful Crime November 19, 2012 at 05:04 AM
At this point and a crime not against this Dr only but dentistry, this case should be a huge public issue of great concern. Higher ups need to know of this story and the government flaws and the flaws of our legal system that cost people their lives.
Rational Voice November 20, 2012 at 12:47 AM
For all of those speculating and crying foul, the court documents are a matter of public record. Before levying wild accusations at the Federal Government and persecution/conspiracy theories read the records and the exhibits. Before trying to defame any reporters or witnesses read the records in full.
Bradford LaPolla November 20, 2012 at 10:12 PM
I do not believe the key prosection witness and with good reason. She is not credible, she has motivation to lie, and an ax to grind against Makarita. With that being said, why should I trust the prosecution who gave immunity to their key witness(a convicted felon involving check fraud), on the other hand Dr. Makarita has been my dentist for 20+ years and I know him to a professional with intgegrity for all that time.
Another Long Time Patient November 20, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Many of us who are writing, do not need to look up the court documents and public record because we were either present during the trial, or know the people who were present during the trial. We are not just writing blindly.
Man of Prayer November 21, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Dr. Makharita is a good man who has a great heart for his patients. My family has gone to him for years and he has been the most giving, kind and caring dentist we have ever had. We wish him well and are praying for him.
Thetruth November 21, 2012 at 08:00 PM
A website is in the works as we speak to bring this issue to the internet. We will be creating a public social media campaign to bring this incredibly important issue directly to the public. Stay tuned...I will announce here when it's gone public. We, the People of the United States of America have a duty to rise up and protect our freedoms and right to the best medical care available. With this case, a tiny sliver of our Federal Government is trying to gain legal precedent, under which they will have extreme power to bring such injustice to other honorable medical practitioners. We will NOT let this happen!!! Not if I can help it...
This is crazy November 22, 2012 at 04:33 PM
I can't believe what happened; this is like a really bad movie. I've been on juries, and often thought you don't want your fate decided by a "jury of your peers." I have no idea what they were thinking; all I know is that some people are self employed and want to get it done quickly so they can get back to work; others are new citizens who believe the government can never be wrong; I also worry about the societal climate we are in right now, where successful people are punished for being successful. The media certainly leans left, and Ms Trifone your bio also indicates you are very much left. I'd like to think this was about justice, but it seems like an all out attack on a one percenter.
susan bailey November 23, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Dr. Makarita, I presume?
Another Long Time Patient November 23, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Absolutely not. Dr. Makarita does not read these.
Farsh December 07, 2012 at 01:11 AM
ha! ur on tv? good for you. this sicko is going to jail. abused power and now pays for his mistakes in the slammer.
Farsh December 07, 2012 at 03:53 AM
ha! absolutely not. dr. makarita does not read these. yea he has his family members reading and writing his responses for him. again, the truth hurts and in this case the facts do not lie! he committed insurance fraud for 91k! is that a freaking lie? the amount prescribed in his chart doesnt agree with what he actually wrote on slips. is that a lie? listen im sorry makarita is going to jail but justice needs to be served for someone abusing power. hes a bit a scumbino.....and its cool im not saying hes a bad person. but he needs to pay for his mistakes LIKE a man and not have all his friends and family bitching about irrelevant BS.
Farsh December 07, 2012 at 03:55 AM
actually i think nicole has presented what has been given regarding this case...all the facts. nicole, dont let makaritas henchmen belittle you.
Karen Burke Morison January 09, 2013 at 03:10 AM
My friends worked for years for the Justice department and in that capacity also worked with FBI agents. It's well known that they have a special group designed to go after medical professionals like Makarita. That's why when they were given Karen Derder that FBI agent saw an opportunity to do his career a favor by "catching" the type they were assigned to get, to wit, the "wealthy and successful doctor." To understand this calamity you need to understand the prosecutorial mindset, which is hell bent in making this case that they can't see the injustice is being inflicted. Tragically, an appeal is limited in scope. It's not an opportunity to rehash all of the issues at trial, so don't get your hopes up. For those who understand what a disaster this is not only for an exceptionally talented professional, but for everyone who values fairness and true justice, keep in mind that things like this can happen to you and those you love and respect. They happen every day in this country (disproportionately to blacks, by the way). Every action you take now for Makarita and others like him, speaking out against this will, I am convinced, someday work towards the greater good for all of us, and our flawed system of justice. Fight on!


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