North Jersey Doctor Sentenced to One Year of House Arrest and Three Years' Probation
Admitted Accepting Bribes for Test Referrals to Clinical Laboratory
NEWARK, N.J. – A doctor with a practice in Paterson, New Jersey, was sentenced today to three years’ probation, which includes one year of house arrest with electronic monitoring, for accepting more than $200,000 in bribes from Parsippany, New Jersey-based Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS) as part of a long-running scheme operated by the lab, its president, and numerous associates, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Claudio Dicovsky, 52, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to an information charging him with one count of accepting bribes. Judge Chesler imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
Including Dicovsky, 33 people – 22 of them physicians – 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.
According to documents filed in this and other cases and statements made in court:
Dicovsky admitted he agreed with BLS president David Nicoll, 40, of Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, to accept bribes in exchange for his referral of blood specimens. To disguise those bribes, Dicovsky and BLS entered into a sham lease agreement and a sham service agreement in which the monthly bribe payments of more than $5,000 were characterized as “lease” and “service” payments. While the lease agreement purported to be for 1,000 square feet of space, little or no space was allocated to BLS in Dicovsky’s medical office in Paterson. Between November 2006 and August 2009, Dicovsky received more than $224,000 in bribe payments from BLS, and BLS made more than $800,000 through testing on blood specimens referred by Dicovsky.
In addition to probation and house arrest, Judge Chesler fined Dicovsky $75,000 and sentenced him to 1,500 hours of community service. He must also forfeit more than $222,000.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas O’Donnell; IRS– Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen; and inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates, with the ongoing investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Andrew Leven, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Minish, 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 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 $620 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: Gerald Miller Esq., Jersey City, N.J.