After five days of deliberations, jurors handed down a guilty verdict on 58 counts to Joel Sabean dermatologist of Portland, OR, on federal tax evasion charges and unlawfully distributing a controlled substance.
Sabean was accused of sending more than $2.3 million to a female family member in Florida and then writing off the payments as medical expenses on his taxes, thereby eliminating over $900,000 in taxes due. He also wrote dozens of prescriptions for her in violation of federal drug laws.
During the trial, prosecutors said that Sabean sent the money in an attempt to encourage a “relationship” with this woman, although he had never visited her despite telling his bookkeepers that she was gravely ill. The woman in question, who has not been identified, is now in custody as well. She is accused of an elaborate scheme to defraud Sabean by claiming she had serious illnesses including: kidney transplants, bone infections and a heart surgery. When taking the stand, she admitted in court to having, “A problem with lying my whole life.”
Sabean’s attorneys argued that he suffered from mental illness and that made him susceptible to fraud.
The jury did not agree, and Sabean now faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and $600,000 in fines. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 21, 2017.