Paterson psychiatrist pleads guilty to accepting bribes for directing blood work to Parsippany lab
July 17, 2013
BY JIM NORMAN
A Paterson psychiatrist and two other New Jersey physicians pleaded guilty Wednesday to accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for sending blood samples to a Parsippany-based diagnostic medical laboratory, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said.
Claudio Dikovsky, 51, who lives in Fort Lee and has a medical office in Paterson, admitted he accepted more than $224,000 from Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services for phony contracts to provide space and services for the lab, Fishman said.
The money was paid in the form of monthly checks for more than $5,000 each between November 2006 and August 2009, Fishman said.
According to the sham contracts, the payments were supposed to have been for BLS to use 1,000 square feet of leased space in Dikovsky’s office and to compensate him for his services, according to court documents. However, Fishman said, “little or no space was allocated to BLS in Dikovsky’s medical office.
As a result of the blood specimens referred by Dikovsky, the lab collected more than $800,000, Fishman said. As part of the guilty plea, Dikovsky agreed to forfeit more than $220,000, the prosecutor said.
In addition to Dikovsky, Dennis Aponte, 46, of Cedar Grove, and Franklin D. Fortunato, 63, of Montville both pleaded guilty to similar charges. Fortunato also pleaded guilty to failing to report the money he had received in bribes and patient co-pays on his federal income-tax returns, Fishman said.
The prosecutor said Aponte had been paid about $3,000 a month for six months to send blood specimens to BLS, and that BLS had been reimbursed about $175,000 by private insurers and Medicare for its lab work. As part of his guilty plea, Aponte agreed to forfeit $235,000, Fishman said.
Fortunato received more than $100,000 in bribe payments that resulted in more than $430,000 in testing work for BLS, Fishman said. In addition, he pleaded guilty to not reporting either the bribe income or more than $500,000 in patient co-pays, avoiding more than $160,000 in taxes. He agreed to forfeit nearly $640,000 as part of his guilty plea.