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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

New York Doctor Charged With Taking Bribes In Test-Referral Scheme With New Jersey Clinical Lab

First Doctor Indicted in Case – 38 Defendants Have Pleaded Guilty

NEWARK, N.J. – A doctor with practices in Nassau County, New York, was charged today with accepting bribes in exchange for test referrals as part of a long-running and elaborate scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, New Jersey, its president and numerous associates, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Bret Ostrager, 50, of Woodbury, New York, was indicted by a federal grand jury and charged with one count of conspiring to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Federal Travel Act, three substantive violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, and four substantive violations of the Federal Travel Act. Ostrager is scheduled to be arraigned before Judge Stanley Chesler on Aug. 19, 2015.

Ostrager is the first defendant to be indicted in connection with the BLS bribery scheme.  To date, 38 people – 26 of them doctors – have pleaded guilty in connection with the bribery scheme, which its organizers have admitted involved millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100 million in payments to BLS from Medicare and various private insurance companies. It is believed to be the largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a bribery case. (See chart below.) The investigation has to date recovered more than $11.5 million through forfeiture.

According to the indictment:

Between February 2011 and April 2013, Ostrager received monthly cash bribes of approximately $3,300 from BLS employees and associates. He periodically solicited and received from the BLS employees and associates tickets and meals that cost thousands of dollars. These additional bribes in response to specific requests from Ostrager included tickets to a New York Mets baseball game, a New York Knicks basketball game, a Katy Perry concert, a Justin Bieber concert, and the Broadway show “Newsies.” In exchange, Ostrager referred patient blood samples to BLS. Ostrager’s referrals generated approximately $909,000 in lab business for BLS.

If convicted, Ostrager faces a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison on each of the counts on which he is charged. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert; IRS–Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen; and inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates, with the ongoing investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph N. Minish and Danielle Alfonzo Walsman, Senior Litigation Counsel Andrew Leven, and Jacob T. Elberg, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Ward, Acting Chief of the office’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.

U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman reorganized the health care fraud practice at the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office shortly after taking office, including 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: Marc Agnifilo Esq., New York

Defendant

Role

Sentence/ Sentencing Date

David Nicoll

BLS owner

TBD

Scott Nicoll

BLS employee

TBD

Craig Nordman

BLS employee

TBD

Luke Chicco

BLS employee

TBD

Cliff Antell

BLS employee

TBD

Kevin Kerekes

BLS employee

TBD

Doug Hurley

BLS employee

TBD

Peter Breihof

BLS employee

TBD

William Dailey

BLS employee

TBD

Len Rubinstein

BLS employee

37 months

Dave McCann

BLS employee

TBD

Michael Zarelli

BLS employee

8/20/15

Frank Santangelo

Doctor

63 months

Gary Safier

Doctor

TBD

Angelo Calabrese

Doctor

37 months

Dennis Aponte

Doctor

24 months

Dana Fortunato

Doctor

14 months

Claudio Dicovsky

Doctor

12 months’ probation

Paul Ostergaard

Doctor

12 months’ probation

Gary Leeds

Doctor

20 months

Richard Goldberg

Doctor

20 months

Demitrios Gabriel

Doctor

37 months

Surender Gorukanti

Doctor

TBD

Wayne Lajewski

Doctor

14 months

Michelle Martinho

Doctor

TBD

John Vitali

Doctor

10 months’ home conf.

Peter Deplas

Doctor

TBD

Douglas Beinstock

Doctor

37 months

Anthony DeLuca

Doctor

12 months & 1 day

Franz Goyzueta

Doctor

37 months

Eugene DeSimone

Doctor

37 months

Anthony Delpiano

Doctor

21 months

Ralph Messo

Doctor

TBD

Leon Marchetta

Physic. Assist.

9/16/15

Brett Halper

Doctor

8/20/15

15-308
Updated August 11, 2015