South Jersey MRI Facility Owners Admit Paying Tens of Thousands in Cash Bribes for Patient Referrals
CAMDEN, NJ—The owners of two South Jersey MRI facilities today admitted paying more than $30,000 in cash bribes to a doctor for patient referrals, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced. Norman Brettler, a/k/a “Norbert,” 67, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and Lee Getson, 62, of Southampton, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas in Camden federal court to separate informations charging them each with one count of conspiracy to pay kickbacks.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Brettler and Getson owned Positional Imaging Associates LLC, d/b/a Ocean Upright MRI, in Toms River, New Jersey, and Tilton Dynamic Imaging LLC, in Northfield, New Jersey. From January 2012 through June 2014, Brettler and Getson agreed with others to pay cash bribes to a doctor in exchange for patient referrals. Brettler and Getson paid the doctor more than $30,000 for referrals, resulting in more than $115,000 in Medicare payments to their MRI companies.
The conspiracy charge to which Brettler and Getson pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain or loss resulting from the offense. Sentencing for both defendants is scheduled for June 29, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel in Newark, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty pleas.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jane H. Yoon and Senior Litigation Counsel Andrew Leven of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark. U.S. Attorney Fishman reorganized the health care fraud practice at the New Jersey U.S. Attorney’s Office shortly after taking office, including creating a stand-alone Health Care and Government Fraud Unit to handle both criminal and civil investigations and prosecutions of health care fraud offenses. Since 2010, the office has recovered more than $635 million 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.