Bergen County Insurance Broker Sentenced To Six Months In Prison, Six Months’ Home Confinement, For Health Care Fraud
TRENTON, N.J. – A former insurance broker with an office in Fort Lee, New Jersey, was sentenced today to six months in prison and six months of home confinement for defrauding Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Lawrence Ackerman, 55, a resident of Old Tappan, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton federal court to a superseding information charging him with one count of health care fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Ackerman was the chief operating officer of Atlantic Business Associates (ABA) and Atlantic Medical Associates (AMA), two “shell” companies through which he marketed health insurance nationally to people who were not his employees and therefore ineligible for health coverage. During the month of January 2011, he delivered $481,500 in health care benefits to ineligible participants.
As part of his plea, Ackerman must make restitution to Blue Cross Blue Shield for the fraudulent claims paid between 2009 and 2013. Ackerman originally was charged in a two-count indictment with conspiring to defraud Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of $5.6 million in fraudulent claims, and for defrauding the Local 2326 (UAW) Welfare Fund of $1 million in fraudulent claims. Those charges are now dismissed, and he is also obligated to pay restitution of $1 million to the Local 2326 Welfare Fund.
U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Mikulka; agents of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA), under the direction of Regional Director Darren Cohen; and agents of the Office of Labor Management Standards (OLMS), under the supervision of Regional Director Andriana Vamvakas, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel V. Grady O’Malley of the Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.