• 9 Investigates: Doctors in default for student loan debt

    By: Blair Miller

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Eyewitness News obtained a list from the U.S. Department of Education that shows the names of 846 doctors across the country who were delinquent on their student loans.


    Story highlights:

    • 846 doctors across the country who haven't paid back their student loans
    • 14 of those doctors are in the Carolinas and altogether owe $886,811
    • Doctors on the list owe a combined $105 million 

    Eyewitness News obtained a list from the U.S. Department of Education that shows the names of 846 doctors across the country who were delinquent on their student loans.

    The list is current through September, 2014 and is the most current list available.

    In some cases, the doctors have been delinquent for years. 

    DOCUMENT: Published defaulters

    Tom Schatz is with Citizens Against Government Waste and said the doctors on the list owe a combined $105 million.

    “These physicians are harming the taxpayers,” said Schatz. “Being on this list means that these individuals have not made any arrangements to pay the money back.”

    Eyewitness News anchor Blair Miller found that 14 of those doctors are in the Carolinas and altogether owe $886,811. Several of them are in Charlotte. Miller spent weeks trying to track them down. 

    Dr. Greg Haughton is a chiropractor in south Charlotte. He owes $49,515 in student loans and, according to the Department of Education, stopped making payments months ago.

    He also owns a $300,000 home that sits along the Raintree Country Club golf course. Haughton declined to be interviewed on camera but spoke with Eyewitness News on the phone.

    “I'm not making hundreds of thousands of dollars. I fell behind and couldn't make the payments. I'm working to pay that back,” said Haughton.

    The list also names Dr. Steven Miszkiewicz as owing $15,626 in student loans.

    Miszkiewicz owns a 3,400-square-foot home with an in-ground pool in Steele Creek.

    It's in the middle of a lakefront community, steps from Lake Wylie.

    Miller went there to look for him, and also sent a letter.

    Late Tuesday, Miszkiewicz emailed Miller a copy of a letter which appears to be from the Department of Health and Human Services.

    It's dated Jan. 30 and reads his student loan "has been paid in full.”

    Dr. Ken Watson works at a clinic on South Boulevard. 

    He owes $26,047 in loans and hasn't made a payment since 2010, according to the Department of Education. He agreed to talk with Miller and said that he plans to pay back the money.

    Miller asked, “Why haven't you paid it back?” 

    “We got in a little financial bind,” Watson said.

    Watson claims the construction of the Lynx light rail along with the 2008 recession kept his patients from using his services. 

    We found Watson also owes more than $11,233 in Mecklenburg County property taxes dating back to 2009 for a home in east Charlotte.

    “The bills kept coming but we kept getting behind because we couldn't get our business going,” said Watson.

    Government officials hope by making this list more public, doctors will feel more inclined to pay off their loans before the government resorts to other legal ways to recoup the money.

    “The government wants people to see this,” said Schatz.

    "They want people to know who hasn't paid back all of this money and that may be enough to give them an incentive to pay back the money.”

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