In a Newark federal court, three physicians admitted Wednesday to their part in a $100,000,000 cash-for-patient-referral scam. According to investigators, the scheme involved the doctors taking bribes from a medical lab in exchange for sending patients for tests that were not necessary, and often were never performed.
As detailed in a U.S. Department of Justice press release, all three changed their “Not Guilty” pleas to “Guilty,” of violating the Federal Travel Act, this week. The prosecution was able to prove that the doctors took bribes from Bio-Diagnostic Laboratory Services in Parsippany.
Claudio Dicovskiy, age 51, a psychiatrist in Fort Lee, accepted $224,000 in bribery money
Franklin D Fortunato, age 63, a pulmonary specialist of Montville, took $100,000
Dennis Aponte, 46, internal medicine specialist of Cedar Grove, took $18,000.
According to court records, the doctors were paid kickbacks by sending patient blood samples to Bio-Diagnostic, which then billed Medicare.
The U.S. DOJ press release stated this:
“The doctors who pleaded guilty today admitted making decisions about the care they provided based on being paid in return for their referrals. We will continue to seek out and punish those doctors and other medical professionals who put profit before patient care.”
Several Bio-Diagnostic staff members, including its president, along with another New Jersey physician, were arrested in April and charged in the conspiracy. Bio-Diagnostic stole more than $1,200,000 from insurance providers in the scam.
A sentencing date has not yet been set.
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