The president of Parsippany, N.J.-based Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), three BLS employees and three associates have admitted to a conspiracy in which millions of dollars in bribes were paid to physicians during a number of years in exchange for blood sample referrals worth more than $100 million to the company. Each of the seven defendants – David Nicoll, Scott Nicoll, Cliff Antell, Luke Chicco, Doug Hurley, Kevin Kerekes and Craig Nordman – pled guilty to charges of one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Federal Travel Act and one count of money laundering.
The defendants entered their guilty pleas in a Newark federal court. Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, had this to say:
Today seven men, including the president of a diagnostic lab, admitted to a conspiracy making more than $100 million in illegal income from business brought through bribes. Individual greed has no place in a treatment plan, and people seeking medical help deserve to know a doctor’s recommendations are based on professional expertise, not illicit profits. Today is an important step, but we aren’t finished holding criminals responsible for this conspiracy, or who break the law to put profits over patients.
The conspiracy was said to have generated millions in illegal profits between 2006 and April of 2013. During their guilty pleas, David and Scott Nicoll admitted that BLS made substantially more than $100 million from Medicare and private insurance companies – just from bills related to blood specimens sent to BLS by bribed doctors. Federal officials detailed the means through which BLS paid doctors millions of dollars – in cash or under the guise of sham lease, service and consulting agreements through an elaborate network of shell entities used for that purpose. The defendants also admitted that one component of the bribery scheme was to pay some doctors a fee per test to induce them to increase their ordering of certain tests.
Those who pled guilty each face a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the bribery conspiracy charge and 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine on the money laundering charge, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. David Nicoll and Scott Nicoll have agreed to forfeit $50 million and $25 million to the United States, respectively. The other five defendants will forfeit amounts ranging between $800,000 and $1.3 million. Sentencing for all seven defendants is scheduled for September 11, 2013.
Source: Corporate Crime Reporter
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