Two New York Doctors Sentenced to Prison for Taking Bribes in Test-Referrals Scheme with New Jersey Clinical Lab
NEWARK, NJ—Two doctors with a practice in New York were each sentenced today to 20 months in prison for accepting bribes in exchange for test referrals as part of a long-running and elaborate scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, New Jersey, its president and numerous associates, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Richard Goldberg, 65, of Weston, Connecticut, and Gary Leeds, 61, of Greenwich, Connecticut, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to one count of accepting bribes. Judge Chesler imposed both sentences today in Newark federal court.
Including Goldberg and Leeds, 38 people—26 of them doctors—have pleaded guilty in connection with the bribery scheme, which its organizers have admitted involved millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100 million in payments to BLS from Medicare and various private insurance companies. The investigation has so far recovered more than $11 million to date through forfeiture.
According to documents filed in this and related cases and statements made in court: Goldberg and Leeds admitted to accepting thousands of dollars per month in cash between September 2010 and April 2013 in return for referring patient blood specimens to BLS. The pair acknowledged they each accepted more than $100,000 in cash from BLS in exchange for referring at least a combined $1.8 million in lab business from their joint practice, Family Medical Group of Manhattan.
In addition to the prison terms, Judge Chesler sentenced Goldberg to serve three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay a $5,000 fine. Leeds was also sentenced to one year of supervised release and ordered to pay a $15,000 fine. Goldberg and Leeds must each forfeit $108,000.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Richard M. Frankel; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Scott J. Lampert; IRS– Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen; and inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates, with the ongoing investigation.
The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Andrew Leven; Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph N. Minish; Jacob T. Elberg, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark; and Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Ward, Chief of the office’s Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.
U.S. Attorney Paul J. 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.
Goldberg: Aidan P. O’Connor Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey. Leeds: E. Scott Morvillo Esq., New York