Doctor Charged With Accepting Thousands Of Dollars In Cash Bribes For Referrals To Lab Companies
NEWARK, N.J. – A doctor with offices in Toms River, New Jersey, was indicted today for accepting thousands of dollars in cash bribes in exchange for referring his patients to two lab companies that performed blood and DNA testing, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Vincent Destasio, 54, of Toms River, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Newark on one count of conspiracy to accept cash bribes and two substantive counts of accepting cash bribes. The indictment was unsealed today. Destasio will be arraigned on a date to be determined.
According to the indictment and statements made in court:
Destasio, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, was paid cash kickbacks by two sales representatives (Daniel Gilman and Kenneth Robberson) who were partners operating PROMED, which was a marketing and sales company specializing in blood testing laboratories and DNA laboratory testing companies. Gilman and Robberson have both pleaded guilty to an information charging them with conspiracy to bribe a physician and are awaiting sentencing.
From March 2014 through May 2015, Gilman and Robberson solicited Destasio by paying him cash bribes for referring patient lab work to two separate laboratories for which Gilman and Robberson provided marketing and sales. One company (Company 1) was a blood testing laboratory company and the other was a DNA laboratory testing company (Company 2). Neither Company 1 nor Company 2 had any knowledge of or involvement in the kickback scheme.
Gilman and Robberson received monthly commission checks from the two companies for referrals, for 10 percent of the reimbursements paid to the companies by various payors, including Medicare. After receiving the commission checks from the two companies, Gilman and Robberson would identify the number of patients Destasio had referred and pay him a cash kickback based on those patients. Destasio was paid a total of approximately $25,000 in cash bribes for his referrals.
Destasio faces a statutory maximum prison sentence of five years on each count in the indictment and a maximum fine equal to the greatest of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. He will also forfeit $25,000, if convicted.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Andrew Campi in Newark, and special agents of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert, with the investigation leading to today’s indictment.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael H. Robertson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
U.S. Attorney Fishman reorganized the health care fraud practice shortly after taking office, creating a stand-alone Health Care and Government Fraud Unit to handle both criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions of health care fraud offenses. Since 2010, the office has recovered more than $635 million in health care fraud and government fraud settlements, judgments, fines, restitution and forfeiture under the False Claims Act, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and other statutes.
Defense counsel: John J. Bruno Jr., Esq., Rutherford, New Jersey