'Nose Doc' Competent for Trial, Judge Says

Mark Weinberger faces 22 fraud charges and 300 malpractice lawsuits relating to his sham medical clinic in Hammond, Ind.

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    Mark Weinberger faces 22 fraud charges and 300 malpractice lawsuits relating to his sham medical clinic in Hammond, Ind.

    A former northwestern Indiana surgeon captured in Italy is mentally competent to be tried on health care fraud charges, a federal magistrate ruled Wednesday.

    Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry denied a motion by prosecutors to have 46-year-old Mark Weinberger's mental state reviewed. Weinberger said he understood the charges against him and could assist in his own defense.

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    Mark Weinberger allegedly treated Peggy Hood's sister for sinus problems, but failed to discover her advanced throat cancer -- a delay that cost her life.

    But he would not say whether he was under treatment for any mental conditions, according to U.S. attorney spokeswoman Mary Hatton. She said Weinberger did acknowledge he was taking an antidepressant.

    Authorities say Weinberger stabbed himself in the neck when he was arrested in Italy in December after more than five years on the run.

    Hundreds of civil lawsuits were filed after Weinberger vanished. The case had been featured on "America's Most Wanted."

    His defense attorney didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment.