ENFORCEMENT

Notorious File: Feds Take Down Three More Doctors in BLS Lab Bribery Scheme

The Biodiagnostic Laboratory Service (BLS) case continues to be the poster child for the evils of fraud and greed in the health care industry, generating record numbers of prosecutions against medical professionals in a single bribery case.

Last month, a Yonkers, New York, internist became the 31st doctor convicted in the $100 million bribery scheme. The doctor admitted to accepting $400,000 in cash from BLS employees in return for referring blood specimens to the New Jersey lab for testing. The illegal referrals generated $1.4 million in business for BLS over a three-year period, the feds contend. The physician now faces up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

So far, most of the BLS prosecutions have been civil cases. But four doctors have also been indicted. On June 6, that list increased to six when a federal jury indicted a pair of cardiologists with a Patterson, NJ practice for their role in the BLS scheme. One of the doctors allegedly received a $500,000 loan, a free trip to Florida for fishing and visiting strip clubs and other bribes from BLS. His wife was also indicted for setting up the sham company through which the bribes were funneled. The other doctor is accused of taking bribes in exchange for over $900,000 in lab referrals.

In addition to the 45 total convictions secured so far, the case forced BLS to close shop and forfeit all of its business assets. And even as the prosecution list continues to grow, the case is a long way from over.

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