Another doctor indicted in major Medicare bribery scheme

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A New Jersey doctor was the latest to admit that he accepted bribes in excess of $100,000 in a multi-million dollar lab test-referral scheme, according to an item in New Jersey News.

In a Newark federal court on Tuesday, Salvatore Conte, 52, of Totowa, admitted to four counts of a 10-count indictment.

“From February 2009 to April 2013, Conte accepted $130,000 in checks and cash in exchange for referring blood specimens of Medicare and privately insured patients to Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services of Parsippany. His referrals generated approximately $525,000 in business for the lab,” according to the report.

And he wasn’t the only one. Now involving 28 doctors and 14 others, who have so far pleaded guilty to taking millions of dollars in bribes, and more than $100 million in fraudulent payments to BLS from Medicare and private insurance companies, this scheme probably involves the largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a bribery case. Conte was only the fifth physician indicted.

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Owners of the now-defunct lab have had to forfeit all of the company’s assets, which so far totals more than $12 million.

The doctor’s guilty plea to charges including conspiracy, anti-kickback, and Federal Travel Act counts could earn him a maximum penalty of five years in prison; the wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years.

Conte will also be looking at fines of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, said the report. He will receive his sentence June. 6.

H/T: North Jersey News

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