WPB eye center raided by FBI - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

WPB eye center raided by FBI

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WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - The FBI continues to raid the office of a West Palm Beach doctor Wednesday who has ties to several politicians.

Federal officials began raiding Vitreo-Retinal Consultants Eye Center in West Palm Beach where Dr. Salomon Melgen's office is located Tuesday night.

According to the Miami Herald, Dr. Melgen owes the IRS millions of dollars -- despite the fact that he donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to several politicians.

FBI agents are searching through the office and taking away potential evidence. The Miami Herald reports Dr. Melgen has an outstanding lien of more than $11 million to the IRS.

The FBI will not confirm why they are raiding the office.

The report also shows Melgen donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to several politicians, including Senator Bill Nelson, Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey.

Along with the IRS troubles, the doctor is accused of taking Sen. Menendez on free trips to the Dominican Republic. Reports show the doctor may have also provided the senator with underage prostitutes while in the Dominican Republic.

Sen. Robert Menendez's office says he traveled on a plane owned by Melgen, who is a friend and political donor, but denied that the senator had engaged with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic, according to the Associated Press.

The New Jersey Democrat's office issued the denial Wednesday. It said he traveled on three occasions on Dr. Melgen's airplane. Menendez's office said the trips were "paid for and reported appropriately".

The Daily Caller, a conservative Web site, reported shortly before the election that Menendez traveled on Melgen's private plane to the Dominican Republic to engage in sex with prostitutes. The FBI has refused to comment on whether Menendez is under investigation.

Menendez is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Melgen is from the Dominican Republic, and according to the Miami Herald, he frequently flies there in his own private plane.

FBI agents at the scene did not talk to any reporters.

An employee of Dr. Melgen's who asked to remain anonymous said, "Dr. Melgen is too much of a smart and caring person" to be involved with "such nonsense as prostitution."

"I think it was one of those campaign smear tactics...(my opinion) and as far as the IRS? I have no clue about that. And yes he is a good person to work for. It can be stressful at times but that's because he has such a large practice," the employee said.

Melton Green, who claims to be a patient of Melgen, said they were stunned by the allegations.

"When they said he was $10 million in, I was stunned," Green said. "I thought, he must be off his rocker, there's something wrong."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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