NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — An elderly New Jersey doctor convicted of accepting kickbacks as part of a long-running, $200 million bribes-for-test-referrals scheme run by a blood testing lab was sentenced Tuesday to more than three years in prison.
Federal prosecutors said Bernard Greenspan, 79, of River Edge, received a 41-month sentence. The family doctor also must forfeit $203,693.
Greenspan was convicted in March of crimes including conspiracy, wire fraud and violating federal anti-kickback laws. He is the only defendant to go to trial in the wide-ranging fraud perpetrated by Parsippany-based Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services. More than 40 others, including 30 doctors, have pleaded guilty.
Federal authorities in New Jersey have called the case the largest fraud of its kind ever uncovered. They estimated the Medicare program was defrauded of tens of millions of dollars, and the investigation has so far recovered more than $13 million through forfeiture.
Greenspan was charged with accepting about $200,000 in bribes from the now-defunct company over several years in exchange for sending his patients' blood samples there. Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services allegedly made about $3 million from its arrangement with Greenspan.
The bribes came in the form of inflated rental payments for the company to use space in Greenspan's office; bogus consulting fees and even a job at the lab for a patient who prosecutors said was having a sexual relationship with Greenspan.
Greenspan's attorneys characterized him as a respected doctor who practiced medicine for 50 years and even made house calls well after they were the norm. They also told jurors Greenspan accepted legitimate rental payments from BLS because he wanted patients to be able to give blood samples in his office to a BLS phlebotomist.
Former BLS President David Nicoll; his brother and co-founder, Scott Nicoll, who previously sold concert tickets for a living; and Craig Nordman, David Nicoll's cousin, are among those who have pleaded guilty.
David Nicoll testified against Greenspan. Authorities said David Nicoll used company profits to spend $300,000 on a Ferrari automobile, $392,000 on tickets to sporting events and $154,000 at a strip club and restaurant.
The lab company pleaded guilty last year and forfeited its remaining assets.