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Livingston Doctor Admits Taking Bribes in Test-Referrals Scheme With New Jersey Clinical Lab

Jackie Schatell

Monday, January 6, 2014 • 2:55pm

NEWARK, NJ – The United States District Attorney of New Jersey announced Monday that Joel Fischgrund, 60, of Livingston, a doctor with a family medicine practice in New Jersey, admitted to accepting bribes in exchange for test referrals as part of a long-running scheme operated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, its president and numerous associates.

The announcement was made by New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

Fischgrund pleaded guilty Monday before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark federal court to one count of accepting bribes.

Including Fischgrund, 22 people – 11 of them physicians – have pleaded guilty in connection with the bribery scheme, which its organizers have admitted involved millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100 million in payments to BLS from Medicare and various private insurance companies.

According to documents filed in this and related cases and statements made in court:

Fischgrund today admitted he accepted bribes in return for referring patient blood specimens to BLS and was paid $1,500 a month under a sham consulting agreement. As part of the purported agreement with Advantech Sales LLC, he was required to fill out a sheet – titled “Consultant Advisory Board Data Sheet” – that only took minutes to complete. Fischgrund admitted he knew the questions on that sheet had no real value to Advantech and were designed to disguise the bribe payments.

The bribery count to which Fischgrund pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for April 1, 2014. As part of his guilty plea, Fischgrund agreed to forfeit the bribes he received from BLS.

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