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Mississippi doctor convicted of fraud released due to virus

April 24, 2020 GMT

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi physician who was convicted in an insurance fraud case has been released from a federal prison to protect him from potentially contracting COVID-19, according to his attorney.

Albert Diaz, 80, was released Thursday from the prison at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, attorney John Colette told the Sun Herald.

Diaz was sentenced to 3 1/2 years behind bars in June 2018. He was found guilty on charges he wrote improper prescriptions to patients he never saw.

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Doctors recently found a mass in Diaz’s lung, and he had suffered from asthma and hypertension, lawyers said in court filings seeking a compassionate release. Symptoms of the new coronavirus can include cough and fever, but also milder cases of pneumonia.

“Contracting the coronavirus in prison might be a death sentence for Albert Diaz,” the filing said.

Diaz is among more than 200 other federal prisoners released due to the coronavirus pandemic, the newspaper reported citing the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He had served more than 60% of his sentence, the Herald reported.

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