Nose doctor's ex-patients settle lawsuits for $55M

INDIANAPOLIS A judge has approved a $55 million settlement for nearly 300 former patients of an Indiana nose doctor who pleaded guilty to fraud after disappearing for five years while vacationing in Greece.

Mark Weinberger, who billed himself as "the Nose Doc," was sentenced to seven years in prison after he pleaded guilty to health care fraud. A Lake County judge approved a settlement Monday involving 282 of Weinberger's former patients who accused the ex-doctor of performing unnecessary or fake surgeries.

Some of the lawsuits date to 2004, when Weinberger disappeared during a family vacation in Europe. Authorities arrested him five years later on a snowy Italian mountainside, where Weinberger was living in a tent.

Attorney Barry Rooth says the patients will each receive an average of almost $250,000.

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