Claiming abuse from Holocaust survivor, Dr. Marder seeks judge’s mercy


Packing a federal courtroom with supporters, Dr. Gary Marder on Friday used his horrific childhood as the son of a Holocaust survivor to try to convince a judge to sentence him to house arrest on obstruction and health care fraud charges.

Painting the dermatologist who lives in a $27 million oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach as a flawed man who succeeded despite years of abuse, his attorney Richard Lubin said no purpose would be served by sending the 61-year-old father of six to prison for bilking Medicare and other federal health insurers out of millions.

“The shame and suffering he’s endured is something the court could and should take into account,” Lubin told U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenberg.

Not only has Marder agreed to give up his medical license, but he has been humiliated by news accounts of his misdeeds, Lubin said. Before Marder was charged in criminal court, he paid $6 million to settle a civil lawsuit government attorneys filed against him. In that suit, he was accused of collecting at least $18 million from federal insurers by submitting phony bills in connection with patients he treated at his offices in Okeechobee and Port St. Lucie.

Instead of charging him with all of the fraud uncovered in the civil lawsuit, federal prosecutors agreed to charge Marder in connection with “one slice of fraudulent activity,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Ellen Cohen. That fraud, billing insurers for the services of a radiation specialist he never paid, amounted to between $250,000 and $550,000 in losses to insurers from 2011 to 2016, she said.

Further, she said, Marder attempted to thwart an FBI investigation by adding bogus paperwork to patient files and attempting to hide a laptop that he feared contained damning evidence against him. For that, he was charged with obstruction of a criminal health care investigation.

Cohen urged Rosenberg to look at the full picture before she sentences Marder next Thursday. “We hear about Medicare going bankrupt. Why?” Cohen asked. “In part because there’s thievery.”

Under sentencing guidelines, Marder would go to prison for between about four and five years and pay a maximum $250,000 fine. There is no reason to deviate from those guidelines, Cohen said.

Lubin countered that Marder’s talents would be better used if Rosenberg placed him on house arrest and ordered him to do volunteer work at the South Florida Learning Academy, affiliated with the South Florida Jewish Academy in Coconut Creek. The school is one of the many Jewish organizations, including temples in Palm Beach, that Marder has supported over the years, Lubin said.

Marder’s philanthropy was spurred, in part, by the hardships he endured growing up, Lubin said. Like many Holocaust survivors, his father, now 93 and living with Marder, never recovered from the agony of living in a concentration camp where his job was to “cart away dead bodies to throw in the fire,” Lubin said.

Suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, Marder’s father couldn’t control his temper or his horrific memories. He took his rage out on Marder, his younger sister and their mother. Eventually, their mother ran off with another man, leaving her children behind. She was ultimately murdered by another spouse, Lubin said.

Unable to care for his children, their father sent Marder and his sister to orphanages in New York and Israel, where the abuse continued. While Marder figured out a way to do well in school, the scars remained, Lubin said.

He gave to Jewish causes because he wanted to help others, he said. “But he was always afraid of losing what he had,” Lubin said. “He’s lived his life fearful, anxious and depressed.”

Cohen said she sympathized with Marder’s father and Marder himself. “But a difficult childhood is not an excuse for committing crimes,” she said.




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