Nose Doctor Appears in Court

Weinberger needs a public defender

Last time Mark Weinberger was in the United States he was living a lavish lifestyle in which a limo driver carted him to work, a personal chef cooked his meals and a massage therapist ironed out his kinks.

Compare that with Monday when the fugitive doctor was ushered into a Hammond, Indiana court room wearing a bright orange jump suit, his head shaven nearly bald.

Weinberger was in court to face charges that he fled more than five years ago. He told U.S. District Court Judge Paul Cherry that he understands the charges against him.

The "Nose Doctor" faces 22 fraud charges and 300 malpractice lawsuits relating to his sham medical clinic in Hammond. The 46 year old allegedly schemed to bill insurance companies for procedures that were not needed or never performed and also performed second-rate surgeries after promising state-of-the-art work. 

The "Nose Doctor" escaped charges for nearly half a decade by living on a mountain in Italy. Authorities there discovered him living in a tent in December. He allegedly tried to stab himself with a pocket knife during his arrest and spent the last two months recovering in a hospital in Torino, Italy.

The judge overseeing his case in Hammond asked Weinberger if he had any medical conditions.

"I won't answer that," Weinberger said.

Weinberger used to live a lavish lifestyle funded by a nearly $3 million annual income -- that was made by allegedly defrauding patients and insurers. Now he says he has no money, is unsure of his assets and needs a public defender.

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