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New Charges Brought Against Paramus Neurologist In Massive Kickback Scheme

Paramus neurologist Terry Ramnanan, 65, of Upper Saddle River.
Paramus neurologist Terry Ramnanan, 65, of Upper Saddle River. Photo Credit: COURTESY: NJ Attorney General

Additional charges have been brought against an Upper Saddle River neurologist with an office in Paramus who was snagged in a statewide kickback crackdown, authorities said.

Terry Ramnanan, 65, who operates the Interventional Spine and Pain Treatment Center, "used his medical facility to fraudulently bill insurance carriers for more than 637 medical procedures totaling $682,000 related to patients involved in the kickback scheme," an indictment returned by a state grand jury in Trenton alleges.

Ramnanan is among dozens of health care practitioners charged in connection with an ongoing investigation by the Attorney General’s Commercial Bribery Task Force (CBTF), created in January 2016 to target commercial bribery in the health care industry.

The investigation revealed a statewide criminal enterprise in which doctors received hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal kickbacks in return for providing patient referrals worth millions of dollars to other doctors and medical service providers.

Ramnanan originally was charged last August with conspiracy and commercial bribery for paying illegal kickbacks to Totowa chiropractor Ronald Hayek for patient referrals.

Hayek is awaiting sentencing after admitting he admitted he accepted tens of thousands of dollars in kickbacks from Ramnanan and others, in exchange for referring patients to them and their related medical facilities. He also admitted paying commercial bribes to attorneys in exchange for the referral of clients to his practice.

The new indictment against Ramnanan adds crimes that Grewal said were committed with the help of an unindicted co-conspirator, including "fraudulently submitting insurance claims for medical treatment."

Guilty pleas also were entered by Dr. Manoj Patharkar and associate Mohammed Shamshair on charges that they hid and laundered approximately $3.6 million in income from the doctor’s pain management clinics to evade taxes.

Meanwhile, an investigation dubbed “Operation Rayscam” led to guilty pleas in May 2015 from Rehan Zuberi, his wife, and three other defendants in connection with commercial bribes that Zuberi paid to doctors in return for the referral of patients to his medical imaging centers.

The new charges against Ramnanan include:

• Misconduct by a corporate official;

• Health care claims fraud;

• Theft by deception;

• Commercial bribery;

• Criminal use of runners.

It also upgrades the previous conspiracy, state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.

“The deeper our investigators dig, the more dirt they uncover on doctors who conspired to buy and sell patients for profit in this statewide kickback scheme,” Grewal said.

Deputy Attorney General Colin Keiffer of the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor presented the case to the grand jury, the attorney general noted.

Conducting and/or coordinating the investigation are Commercial Bribery Task force members Deputy Attorneys General Brian Faulk and Charles Wright, Deputy Chief Anthony Butler, Lt. Lisa Shea, Detectives John Campanella, Wendy Berg, Grace Rocca, Kimberly Allen and John Neggia, along with Analysts Bethany Schussler and Rita Gillis, he said.

Additional assistance, Grewal said, was provided by Supervising Criminal Forensic Auditor Debra Lewaine and Criminal Forensic Auditor Michael Birnie -- both of the state Department of the Treasury’s Office of Criminal Investigation -- and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

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