Margo Stone did a little bit of everything over the nearly three decades that she worked for Dr. Javaid Perwaiz.
Her job titles included nurse, office administrator, and bookkeeper. She assisted Perwaiz in the examining rooms, checked patient’s blood pressure and weight, ordered supplies, paid bills, recorded deposits, and handled the payroll and payroll taxes.
She also had a romantic relationship with the longtime obstetrician-gynecologist now on trial for more than 60 criminal charges in U.S. District Court in Norfolk.
Prosecutors allege that Perwaiz, 70, performed unneeded work on patients for years in order to fund a lavish lifestyle. He’s charged with multiple counts of health care fraud, making false statements related to health care matters and identity theft. His jury trial began Wednesday and could last more than a month.
Stone told jurors she first started working part-time as a nurse for Perwaiz in the early 1990s and later became a full-time employee. Over the years, her responsibilities grew. So, too, did her relationship with the doctor.
He spent lots of time with Stone, her husband and two sons, Stone testified. He became a kind of grandfather figure for the boys, now in their 20s. He paid for the boys’ high school and college tuitions and bought the oldest son a car. The boys eventually started calling him Papa.
Perwaiz hung the boys’ framed portraits on the walls of his office and put their initials on the license plate of one of his cars.
Stone also got lots of gifts from the doctor. She estimated that he gave her about 10 watches, each valued at $2,000. She also got purses, sunglasses, and jewelry. She even shared an American Express card with him that she used to buy things for herself and her sons.
When asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Butler to estimate the total value of the gifts that Perwaiz gave her over the years, her response: “Several hundred thousand dollars.”
And while Stone testified that she would have stopped working for the doctor immediately if she ever thought he did anything that would put a patient’s safety in jeopardy, she said she saw him do some things that were questionable.
One day when she was filling in at the main office, she said she saw him examining a patient with an instrument that was broken. She immediately ordered a new part for it.
When staff complained that he wasn’t sterilizing a piece of equipment for the recommended amount of time, she said she confronted him and he agreed to wait in the future. And when she heard patients complain about having to undergo too many surgeries, she confronted him about that, too.
“Sometimes he seemed to listen, sometimes he did not,” she said.
Stone also said she knew that he wasn’t using some instruments properly and occasionally saw him alter information on patients records.
In other testimony Friday, two of Perwaiz’s former patients told jurors how the doctor recommended they get a hysterectomy after they reported things like bleeding during intercourse and post-menopausal bleeding.
When prosecutors showed them medical records Perwaiz kept for them, they said they never made most of the complaints listed on them. They also said that he failed to tell them about the risks associated with the surgery, or offer them any other options.
Jane Harper, 757-222-5097, [email protected]
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