Physician expert witness criminally charged with misrepresenting qualifications

March 1, 2007

The US Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Michigan has charged a heart surgeon, who served as an expert witness in a malpractice case against the Veterans Administration and US government, with perjury and fraud. A federal grand jury indicted the Florida-based surgeon, Alex Zakharia, for allegedly exaggerating his qualifications and experience with open-heart surgery.

The US Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Michigan has charged a heart surgeon, who served as an expert witness in a malpractice case against the Veterans Administration and US government, with perjury and fraud. A federal grand jury indicted the Florida-based surgeon, Alex Zakharia, for allegedly exaggerating his qualifications and experience with open-heart surgery.

According to court records, the US attorney charged Zakharia with devising a scheme, in part, to give his testimony more credibility. The US attorney claims that Zakharia falsely represented the number of CABG surgeries he performed between 1996 and 2002 and that he was the lead surgeon during these procedures.

Zakharia has rejected these allegations, telling The Miami Herald (1/9/2007) that federal defense lawyers did not understand him, he didn't exaggerate, and his qualifications and experience were not relevant in the case being tried.