Dr. Albert Diaz, who practiced obstetrics and gynecology in Biloxi and lived in Ocean Springs, was sentenced Thursday to three years and six months in prison for health-care fraud and other crimes. He asked that the Sun Herald publish in full the statement he prepared to read to U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett at sentencing.
His statement, as written, follows.
"I would like to begin by thanking you for granting me the privilege of addressing you at my time of sentencing, hoping that you will look down on me with kind eyes and judgment.
"As you know, I wrote prescriptions for patients without first seeing them. I realize that what I did was wrong, and I am truly remorseful for those actions. However, my intention for writing those prescriptions was simple: I wanted to help patients, which is what I have done for all my patients throughout my medical career. Years later, I understand that not all good intentions lead to good outcomes, just as my intentions led me here in front of you today.
"As a result of my writing a small handful of prescriptions, I am truly sorry. However, I never obtained any knowledge about a potential plan to defraud the government and believe that I was taken advantage of. The word 'intention' can be defined as, 'A plan for action, composed of beliefs and desires.' As stated earlier, my belief and desire was that I was helping those patients in need as I have demonstrated the past 45 years of being a physician.
"Your honor, I know my actions produced many unforeseen circumstances, but I am asking that you look at me through the eyes of a Christian man and see that I was not ever aware of the scheme that evolved from my handful of prescriptions.
"I have had plenty of time to think lately — 98 days exactly — and I have concluded that God has placed all of us here on earth for a reason. I have lost everything and my wife of 28 years has turned her back on me and filed for a divorce two days ago.
"Although I have lived a great life and was so unbelievably privileged to assist approximately 22,000 of God's children in taking their first breath, I hope and pray that I was able to fulfill my destiny and God's plan for me in the time that I had.
Your honor, the last thing I would say is a quote from the Bible, Matthew 5: 3-12: 'Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.'
"The government and prosecution have not given me justice.