Three New York-based doctors will receive prison time after pleading guilty to accepting bribes. Their sentences are the most recent development in a massive scandal that involved $100 million in Medicare payments to a specific diagnostic lab. An extensive investigation by the Department of Justice has led to the conviction of over 30 physicians, including two from Staten Island and one from Yonkers.
The doctors in question, George Roussis, Nicholas Roussis, and Ricky J. Sayegh, were all found to have accepted cash payments in exchange for referring their patients’ blood specimens to Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services. BLS, a Parsippany, New Jersey-based diagnostic lab, is found to have bribed dozens of physicians and personnel in exchange for blood specimens. The referrals brought in millions of dollars in business and Medicare payments for the lab.
The brothers Roussis confirmed that BLS paid them approximately $175,000 in bribes and also paid for their trips to strip clubs. In exchange for this, the physicians would send their patients’ blood specimens to the lab, generating over $1.7 million in profits for BLS.
Sayegh admitted to accepting bribes totaling $400,000 from BLS employees in exchange for sending the lab his patients’ blood samples. His referrals resulted in over $1.4 million in business for BLS.
The DOJ states that this case has resulted in the largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a bribery case. Over 50 people have been convicted, including the aforementioned physicians. The enormous scheme involved more than $100 million to BLS from Medicare and private payers.