VAOIG Seal U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs
Office of Inspector General
Office of Investigations
Washington, DC 20420
(202) 565-7702
Friday, September 12, 1997
Fugitive Doctor Indicted Upon Return To United States
William T. Merriman, Deputy Inspector General, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), announced today that in U. S. District Court, Uniondale, NY, Michael J. Swango, also known as Jackson Michael Kirk, appeared before Judge Jacob Mishler, as a result of a superseding indictment filed yesterday charging Swango with one count of making false statements and five counts of possession of controlled substances by misrepresentation, deception and subterfuge. Swango was indicted previously in July 1997, for the false statement charge.

Merriman advised that a Federal grand jury charged that Swango, in connection with his application to enter a residency program at the State University at Stonybrook, Long Island, stated to officials that he had been convicted and incarcerated in Illinois for assault arising from a fist fight in a bar, when in fact he had been convicted for assault arising from the non-lethal poisoning of his co-workers while employed as a paramedic. Stonybrook assigned Swango as a resident to the VA Medical Center, Northport, NY. As a result of Swango’s misrepresentation and subsequent employment status, he was able to dispense controlled substances, including Demerol and Morphine. In 1993, an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation resulted in an arrest warrant being issued based on this false statement charge. Swango then left the United States and accepted an appointment as a resident at a hospital in Zimbabwe. An arrest warrant was issued on Swango in Zimbabwe charging him with five counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder of patients at that hospital. Swango was arrested upon his return to the United States in July 1997.

Swango is being held in Federal custody pending trial scheduled for November 3, 1997, on these charges. If convicted, he could receive a maximum sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment and $150,000 in fines.