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Medicare Fraud Through Referrals

Medicare Fraud Through Referrals: New Jersey Cracks Down on Bribery

The relationship between doctor and patient is an important one, in part because the patient depends on the doctor to make decisions based on his or her health, and not his ability to pad his bank account.

The Newark US Attorney’s office brought bribery charges last week against several owners and operators of Morris County, New Jersey lab, Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services (BLS), as well as Dr. Frank Santangelo, for a bribery scam in which Santangelo and several other doctors were compensated for referring patients to them for tests that were unnecessary, just to give the lab more work to do and increase their profits.

According to the complaint, Dr. Santangelo, who is the only doctor named so far, referred more than $4 million worth of business to the company, and in return received more than $700,000 in bribes. BLS apparently gave millions more to other doctors over the last seven years, under what they referred to as “consulting agreements.” In some cases, BLS would lease space it didn’t need from doctors, as well, as a way of transferring the bribe money without detection. When the state passed a law that would prohibit labs and doctors from engaging in lease agreements, BLS used proxies to disguise bribes. In one case, a doctor spent two minutes filling out a form every month, and received $1,500 each time.

All of the details of this case have not come out as yet, but in a case like this, it’s very possible that Medicare money was involved, and that federal prosecutors received their information from a whistleblower. If so, that whistleblower may be compensated under provisions of the False Claims Act. If you have knowledge of Medicare fraud under the False Claims Act, you may be entitled to compensation if you expose them. Contact the Texas False Claims Act Lawyer at Hill Law Firm to help you.

Commercial Litigation, False Claims Act