Federal judge orders release of convicted doctor accused of bail violation

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 4:49 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A federal judge Friday ordered the release of a former Baldwin County doctor who had been held after the U.S. Attorney’s Office accused him of lying about missing his sentencing hearing.

Rassan Tarabein, who pleaded guilty in 2017 to health care fraud, was convicted in September of a new offense involving allegations that he failed to pay restitution from the original case. Tarabein failed to show up for his sentencing hearing on Jan. 9. He sent an email to his probation officer explaining that he had checked himself into a Baldwin County hospital because of a medical issue.

At a hearing the next day, according to court records, Tarabein’s lawyer told the judge that he was groggy from anesthesia he had received at the hospital.

But prosecutors presented surveillance video from the same day the sentencing hearing was supposed to take place, showing him dropping off a package at the federal courthouse.

Chief U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Beaverstock heard evidence this week and on Friday issued a one-paragraph ruling denying the prosecution motion. He ordered the defendant to report to the U.S. Probation Office after his release from the Baldwin County Corrections Center.

A judge sentenced Tarabein to five years in prison in 2018 following his health care fraud conviction, although he was allowed to serve part of that under house arrest in Fairhope because of the COVID-10 pandemic. During that period, Tarabein re-issued the 2018 cashier’s check to himself, according to prosecutors. They also presented evidence that from 2020 to 2022, Tarabein made no payments toward his restitution obligation. Instead, the evidence suggested that Tarabein had access to and spent large sums of money on himself.

The jury heard evidence that Tarabein fraudulently deposited money into his bank account in December 2021 using information from another account that he had agreed to forfeit and that had been closed years earlier as part of his health care fraud conviction in 2017.

Prosecutors also presented evidence that Tarabein made false statements to his probation officer

early this year in his financial disclosures while continuing to conceal assets.

FBI agents arrested Tarabein as he was about to board a flight in Pensacola bound for Syria. He had a $31,000 counterfeit check dated March 2022 from a business in Georgia made payable to Tarabein at his address in Fairhope, according to court records. The counterfeit check bore the name and signature of a representative of the business, which had previously lost tens of thousands of dollars from a successful deposit of a nearly identical fraudulent check months earlier.

Tarabein is scheduled to be sentenced next month for bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and making false statements.

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