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Press Release

National Health Care Fraud Enforcement Action Results in 193 Defendants Charged and Over $2.75 Billion in False Claims

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey
13 Defendants Charged in the District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – Today, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Selliniger, District of New Jersey,  announced criminal charges against 13 defendants in connection with alleged schemes to defraud Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE, and private health insurers. The charges filed in federal court are part of the Department of Justice’s 2024 National Health Care Fraud Enforcement Action.

“It does not matter if you are a trafficker in a drug cartel or a corporate executive or medical professional employed by a health care company, if you profit from the unlawful distribution of controlled substances, you will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Justice Department will bring to justice criminals who defraud Americans, steal from taxpayer-funded programs, and put people in danger for the sake of profits.”

“Patients rely on Medicare and other health insurers to cover the costs of necessary care, and the system is built on trust. Health care providers and others who take advantage of that system through fraud or illegal kickbacks reap unwarranted profits and undermine the system. The cases announced today – part of a nationwide action against 193 defendants allegedly resulting in over $2.75 billion in alleged false billings, and the seizure of over $231 million in cash, luxury vehicles, gold and other assets – allege a variety of misconduct, but they all seek to hold accountable those who put profits over patients. Along with our law enforcement partners, this office is committed to safeguarding Medicare and the health care system from fraud and illegal kickback schemes.”

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger

The charges announced today by U.S. Attorney Sellinger are part of a strategically coordinated, two-week nationwide law enforcement action.

The Health Care Fraud Unit’s National Rapid Response, Florida, Gulf Coast, Los Angeles, Midwest, Northeast, and Texas Strike Forces; U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the District of New Jersey, the Southern District of Alabama, District of Arizona, Central District of California, Northern District of California, Southern District of California, District of Connecticut, Middle District of Florida, Southern District of Florida, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern District of Kentucky, Western District of Kentucky, Eastern District of Louisiana, Middle District of Louisiana, Western District of Louisiana, Eastern District of Michigan, Western District of Michigan, Southern District of Mississippi, District of Montana, Eastern District of New York, Southern District of New York, Eastern District of North Carolina, Western District of Oklahoma, District of Rhode Island, Middle District of Tennessee, Northern District of Texas, Southern District of Texas, Eastern District of Tennessee, Eastern District of Virginia, and Southern District of West Virginia; and the State Attorney Generals’ Offices for California, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, and South Dakota are prosecuting the cases in the National Enforcement Action, with assistance from the Health Care Fraud Unit’s Data Analytics Team. Descriptions of each case involved in today’s enforcement action are available on the Department's website here.

The District of New Jersey worked with the Department’s Criminal Division and other law enforcement organizations to investigate and prosecute the cases filed during the enforcement period.

“We will not tolerate fraud that preys on patients who need and deserve high quality health care,” said the Honorable Christi A. Grimm, the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General (HHS-OIG). “The hard work of the HHS-OIG team and our outstanding law enforcement partners makes today’s action possible. We must protect taxpayer dollars and keep Americans safe from harms to their health, privacy, and financial well-being.”

“The Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), the law enforcement arm of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, is fully committed to working with our law enforcement partners and the Justice Department to hold those who engage in fraudulent activity at the expense of the U.S. military accountable for their actions,” Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Brian J. Solecki of the DCIS Northeast Field Office, said. “Protecting the integrity of the healthcare system utilized by our military members and their families is of the utmost importance and continues to be a top priority for DCIS.” 

“We remain fully committed to bringing justice to those who steal from Amtrak’s resources, including these current and former Amtrak employees accused of defrauding Amtrak’s health care plans,” Amtrak’s Inspector General, Kevin H. Winters, said. “The alleged actions by these employees and health care providers drained millions in Amtrak’s funds – resources ultimately provided by American taxpayers – and we hope these charges will serve as a deterrent for those considering engaging in such schemes. Anyone who suspects or observes such fraud should report it to our investigators via our fraud, waste, and abuse hotline.”

The following individuals have been charged in District of New Jersey:

  • Kimberlee Otero, 47, of Camden, New Jersey, was charged by information with conspiracy to unlawfully distribute and possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Nicholas K. Peone of the Northeast Strike Force and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Bender of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.
  • Hyunji Choi, aka “Regina Choi,” aka “Regina Beatrice,” 39, of Woodside, New York, was charged by information with conspiracy to commit health care fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the Amtrak health care plan. As alleged in the information, Choi, a medical biller, submitted false and fraudulent claims to the Amtrak health care plan for services that were not provided, resulting in loss to the Amtrak health care plan of at least approximately $959,902.79. Choi paid cash bribes and kickbacks to co-conspirator Amtrak employees, in return for the employees’ agreement to allow their insurance to be used for false billing. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine M. Romano and Jessica R. Ecker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.
  • Timothy Bogen, 59, of Hamden, Connecticut, Kevin Frink, 52, of Willingboro, New Jersey, Dion Jacob, 50, of Brooklyn, New York, Quinton Johnson, 52, of Irvington, New Jersey, David Lonergan, 64, of Rockaway Park, New York, David McBrien, 36, of Levittown, Pennsylvania, Gregory Richardson, 34, of Roosevelt, New York, Rodolfo Rivera, 41, of Clayton, Delaware, Michael Toal, 34, of Hazlet, New Jersey, and Damany Walker, 41, of Irvington, New Jersey, were charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit health care fraud in connection with a scheme to defraud the Amtrak health care plan, which resulted in a loss of approximately $11,054,831 to Amtrak. The defendants were Amtrak employees and participants in the Amtrak health care plan who allowed their personal and insurance information, and in some cases that of their dependents, to be used for false and medically unnecessary billing in return for cash kickbacks and bribes paid by co-conspirator health care providers. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katherine M. Romano and Jessica R. Ecker of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.
  • Elise Nocella, 54, of Naples, Florida, was charged by information with conspiring to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute by paying kickbacks for DME orders. As alleged in the information, Nocella, who owned and operated a marketing company that marketed DME, offered and paid physicians at a pain management practice kickbacks in exchange for DME orders. Nocella supplied the physicians with a variety of expensive items, including cash, full-season access to a suite for professional football games, expensive lunches and dinners at networking events and practice group meetings, and other expensive gifts, and subsequently billed Medicare and other health care benefit programs for the orders. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney DeNae Thomas of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey.

A complaint, information, or indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated June 27, 2024

Health Care Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-248