A New York-based physician pleaded guilty to her role in a bribery scheme operated by a Parsippany company and faces up to a quarter-million dollars in fines and five years in prison, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced.
Michele Martino, 39, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes between September 2010 and April 2013 in the amount of $5,000 per month in cash in return for referring patient blood specimens to Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services (BLS) in Parsippany.
In return, BLS received more than $350,000 and Martinho netted approximately $155,000, Fishman said.
Kevin Kerekes, a BLS salesman, paid the cash bribes to Martinho. Kerekes pleaded guilty to his involvement in the scheme in June 2013, Fishman said.
The maximum potential penalty for Martinho is up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and she is scheduled for sentencing on July 8, 2014. Martinho agreed to forfeit $155,000 as well.
Martinho is one of 27 people – 16 of which are physicians – have pleaded guilty in connection with the same bribery scheme revolving around BLS, which included the company’s president and numerous associates, Fishman said.
The entire scheme has resulted in more than $100 million in payments to BLS from Medicare and various private insurance companies. The investigation has recovered more than $7 million through forfeiture.