Menendez friend indicted for Medicare fraud

Washington CNN  — 

The Florida doctor who is at the heart of corruption charges against Sen. Robert Menendez was indicted Tuesday on Medicare fraud charges.

Salomon Melgen, the North Palm Beach opthamologist whose alleged girlfriends, lavish gifts and political contributions were laid out in the 68-page indictment of Menendez earlier this month, was charged Tuesday with a total of 76 charges tied to a scheme that involved submitting falsely diagnosed patient claims between 2004 and 2013, the Justice Department said.

READ: Menendez indictment: 3 girlfriends, 7 lavish trips

The indictment comes less than two weeks after the federal prosecutors indicted Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, on corruption charges for allegedly using his Senate office to push Melgen’s interests.

Menendez has been defiant, insisting that he is innocent and vowing to fight the charges.

The government’s case is focused on trips Menendez took to the Dominican Republican as Melgen’s guest. Menendez advocated on Melgen’s behalf with federal Medicare administrators who accused the doctor of overbilling.