Former Williamsville surgeon avoids prison in federal fraud case


BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Attorneys for Mohamed Yusuf Saddiqui, 73, told a federal judge, the former Williamsville surgeon has dedicated most of his life tending to the medical needs of others, but as the reality of losing his medical license set in, Siddiqui was overcome with emotion.

The former physician avoided prison, Wednesday afternoon, when a federal judge sentenced him for illegally prescribing pain pills for a patient, then taking some of those pills for his own use.

Siddiqui gave up his medical license after pleading guilty, earlier this year, to one count of committing fraud to obtain pain medication.

John Rogowski, one of Siddqui’s defense attorneys, said other than that one act of extremely poor judgment, the former physician had a clean record.

“He is a general surgeon. He has spent a lot of time on his feet. He did have pain, he was being treated by a physician for that issue, but perhaps he might have gotten a little bit out of control.”

Siddiqui admitted writing a prescription for painkillers for a former employee, and after she picked them up at a pharmacy, he took 30 of the hydrocodone pills for his own use.

Rogowski said it was a terrible lapse in judgment, “The doctor had an exemplary career, a great personal life, and just out of a misguided sense of sympathy to a particular patient, he wrote a ‘script that he shouldn’t have.”

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Vilardo agreed the former surgeon has already learned his lesson, and believed incarceration would serve no useful purpose, as he sentencing Siddiqui to one year of probation and a $5,000 fine.

Siddiqui’s co-counsel, Sunil Bakshi said it is a fair sentence, “Over 60 letters were submitted to the court on behalf of this individual, including patients and other colleagues to exemplify the character of this man.”

Government prosecutors agreed, and acting United States Attorney James Kennedy said Siddiqui’s downfall was truly tragic, “The penalty that he has paid is probably much greater than that which even the court could impose by the loss of his reputation, the loss of his medical practice, and the loss of respect that he suffered within the medical community and the community at large. It is sad.”

Under federal courts’ sentencing guidelines, Federal Judge Lawrence Vilardo could have sent Siddiqui to prison for up to 6 months. The maximum sentence is 4 years. Government prosecutors said Siddiqui is the sixth Western New York doctor to face charges of illegally prescribing painkillers.

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