An NJ based-imaging center, Diagnostic Imaging Affiliates offered kickbacks to doctors in exchange for the doctors referring patients to them. Four doctors and one chiropractor were caught and charged followed by indictments by a grand jury.
Rehan “Ray” Zuberi, 46, the owner of Diagnostic Imaging Affiliates of Boonton, offered the bribe and has pleaded guilty to paying out several million dollars in bribes and kickbacks between 2008 to 2014.
The doctors indicted includes:
• Dr. John Fritz, 47, a Family physician who lives and has a practice in Jersey City was accused of referring about 4,500 scans to Zuberi’s facilities and in return got $500,000 in kickbacks. During high referral months, Fritz apparently received $6,000 to $7,000 per month from Zuberi’s company.
• Next is East Orange cased Internist Dr. Alexander G. Salerno, 47, who allegedly got kickbacks of $130,000 for referring thousands of scans to Zuberi’s imaging centers between 2009 and 2013. The kickbacks were always in form of check and were well hidden under the guise of “sham rental agreements,” where Zuberi’s organization supposedly rented space at Salerno’s medical offices.
• Payout payments were used to hide kickbacks amounting to $75,000 to Oncologist Dr. Davarajan Iyengar, 61. The physician who is a resident of Livingston and has an office in Bayonne, referred several patients to Zuberi for MRI and CT scans.
• Dr. William M. Steck Sr., 70, has purportedly referred hundreds of scans to Zuberi’s facilities in exchange for about $50,000. The Obstetrician/gynecologist who is a resident of West Orange and has an office in the same region had the kickbacks routed to his shell companies. He was the first to be arrested in association with the investigation;
• The last in this case is Chiropractor Dr. Alan P. Epstein, 46, who resides in Manalapan and has an office in Elizabeth. He supposedly referred over 200 scans to Zuberi. The kickback in this case was in the architectural services and permits meant to expand Epstein’s practice, along with that Zuberi also paid for Epstein’s patient transportation expenses. Epstein was arrested after Dr. Steck.
In a news release, Acting New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman said that a doctor’s duty to ensure his patients’ care and well-being, not to accumulate personal wealth. He also added that all the five medical practitioners indicted have allegedly sold their medical opinion for kickbacks and had abandoned their duty, thus breaking the law and the trust of those who sought their advice.
They have been charged health care claims fraud, commercial bribery, and running could face maximum sentences anywhere between 20 to 25 years in prison.