Passaic County, New Jersey, Man Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison for Taking Bribes for Referring Tests to New Jersey Clinical Lab
NEWARK, N.J. – An internal medicine doctor with a practice in West New York, New Jersey, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison for accepting bribes in exchange for test referrals as part of a long-running scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, N.J., its president and numerous associates, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Jorge J. Figueroa, 59, of Wayne, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to accepting bribes. Judge Chesler imposed the sentences today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Figueroa admitted that he had accepted checks, cash and other bribe payments totaling approximately $200,000 from BLS employees and associates between May 2007 and April 2013. In exchange, Figueroa generated more than $1.4 million in lab business for BLS.
The investigation has thus far resulted in 51 convictions – 37 of them doctors – 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.
The investigation has to date recovered more than $13 million through forfeiture. On June 28, 2016, BLS, which is no longer operational, pleaded guilty and was required to forfeit all of its assets.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Chesler sentenced Figueroa to one year of supervised release and fined him $7,500. He must also forfeit $199,899.
U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the New Jersey FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark; 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 Acting Inspector in Charge Joseph V. Cronin in Newark, with the ongoing investigation leading to today’s sentencing.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph N. Minish, Danielle Alfonzo Walsman; Jacob T. Elberg, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Ward, deputy chief of the asset forfeiture program.
The New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office reorganized its health care fraud practice in 2010 and created a stand-alone Health Care and Government Fraud Unit to handle both criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions of health care fraud offenses. Since that time, the office has recovered more than $1.37 billion 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.