A physician from Jersey City, New Jersey, has pleaded guilty to one count of accepting bribes in exchange for patient blood sample referrals as part of a scheme that resulted in more than $100 million in fraudulent payments from Medicare and private insurers.
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The physician, internist Anthony DelPiano, is one of 35 defendants—and the 24th doctor—to plead guilty for their roles in the scheme, which was partially operated by David Nicoll, the former president of Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services (BLS). In June 2013, Nicoll pleaded guilty in federal court to money laundering and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute.
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According to authorities, DelPiano accepted bribes in return for performing unnecessary tests and referring patient blood samples to BLS. DelPiano was allegedly paid $2,300 per month and his referrals generated $1,752,603.24 in revenue for the lab. As part of his plea deal, DelPiano must repay $204,475.
Overall, prosecutors say the scheme involved millions of dollars in bribes. Authorities have recovered more than $10.5 million through forfeiture from other involved parties.
The bribery count carries a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $250,000 fine. DelPiano will be sentenced in May (Villanova, The Jersey Journal, 2/4; DOJ release, 2/4; AP/CBS New York, 2/4).
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Around the nation: Feb. 9, 2015