The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of a former Lafayette cardiologist serving a 10-year prison term for health care fraud.

Dr. Mehmood M. Patel, who went to federal prison in December of last year, was accused of billing insurance for unnecessary procedures and falsifying medical records.

A federal jury convicted Patel in 2008 on 51 counts of health care fraud, and he was then sentenced to 10 years in prison.  A variety of court filings kept him out of prison until last year, when a judge ordered him to start his sentence in December.

His last chance to remain free was to bring his case before the U.S. Supreme Court, but they turned him down last week.

The 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals had upheld Patel’s conviction on the federal health care fraud charges this past summer, and then they turned down his request to remain out of jail while he waited to hear if the U.S. Supreme Court would hear his case.

Amy Adelson, who represented Dr. Patel, had asked the appeals court to let the doctor remain out of jail while he was waiting to learn whether or not the U.S. Supreme Court will hear his case, but they denied his plea.