A doctor from Cedar Grove was sentenced to 24 months in prison Monday for accepting more than $200,000 in bribes, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Dennis Aponte, 46, pleaded guilty in July 2013 for accepting bribes in exchange for referrals to David Nicoll of Mountain Lakes.
Nicoll, 39, is the president and part-owner of Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), where Aponte would refer patients for blood testing, according to the release.
Aponte admitted that Nicoll paid him $3,000 a month for the exchange, which occurred between October 2012 and March 2013, the release indicated.
Due to Aponte’s referrals, the lab received more than $175,000 in fees from Medicare and private insurance, according to the release.
In addition to his two-year prison term, Aponte was sentenced to one year of supervised release, fined $50,000 and he was ordered to forfeit $235,000 – which represents the proceeds Aponte received from the offense, according to Matthew Reilly, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The offense violated the Federal Travel Act, which is used to prosecute fraudulent payments across state lines, the release indicated.
Nicoll, along with other BLS associates, were arrested in 2013 and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Federal Travel Act and one count of money laundering, the attorney’s office stated.
Sentencing for BLS associates and Nicoll are scheduled for Sept. 8, Reilly told the Times.
The case was presided over by U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler at the Newark federal courthouse. Chesler reached a decision on Aponte’s case July 7, according to a release.
In the release, Fishman credited the FBI, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Inspector General, the IRS Criminal Investigation team, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for conducting the investigation leading up to this week’s sentence.
Since 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has recovered more than $535 million in healthcare fraud settlements, judgments, fines and forfeitures due to statutes like the False Claims Act, according to the release.