RIVER EDGE, N.J. -- A federal judge in Newark on Tuesday sentenced a 79-year-old River Edge family doctor to 41 months in prison for accepting $200,000 in bribes in exchange for test referrals.
Jurors in March convicted Bernard Greenspan guilty of all 10 counts brought against him following just over four hours of deliberation after an 11-day trial.
Greenspan was part of what Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick called "a long-running and elaborate scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, its president and numerous associates.
The U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey has secured 44 convictions – 30 of them of doctors including Greenspan – 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.
It is believed to be the largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a bribery case, authorities said.
The investigation has recovered more than $13 million through forfeiture, they said.
Last June, BLS -- which is no longer operational -- pleaded guilty and was required to forfeit all of its assets.
“People need to trust that their doctors are making medical decisions based on what is in their best interest and not based on who will pay them a bribe," Fitzpatrick said Tuesday.
The 10-count indictment sets out what federal prosecutors called "an extremely lucrative pattern of soliciting and accepting illegal payments" for referrals to the lab, which produced roughly $3 million in business for BLS.
Greenspan "periodically solicited, and received from the BLS employees and associates, monthly bribe payments in the form of sham rental, service agreement, and consultant payments; received the bribes between March 2006 and April 2013 from BLS employees and associates," Fitzpatrick said.
He also "solicited and received other bribes," including payment for holiday parties for himself and office staff, the U.S. attorney said.
BLS hired – at Greenspan’s specific request – a patient of Greenspan’s with whom he was having a sexual relationship, he added.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge William H. Walls sentenced Greenspan to one year of supervised release, fined him $125,000 and ordered forfeiture of $203,693.
Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI; inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; IRS–Criminal Investigation; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph N. Minish and Danielle Alfonzo Walsman, and Jacob T. Elberg, chief of Fishman's Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark.
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