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New Jersey chiropractor facing kickback charges in imaging center patient referral scheme

by Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
The latest bust for health care-related bribery has snagged a North Jersey chiropractor, Dr. Kesnold Baptiste, who stands charged with taking illegal kickbacks from a medical imaging center boss for sending patients its way.

This is the latest charge in a bribe and fraud scheme that has already seen others who pleaded guilty – and it is so big that it led to the formation of a special task force.

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“The type of kickback schemes that we are uncovering with our new commercial bribery task force have a corrosive impact on our health care system, leading patients to receive unnecessary diagnostic services and treatments, and ultimately inflating costs for everyone,” Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice of the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General, said in a statement.

The message from this latest episode, stressed Honig, is that such transgressions will be met with “aggressive prosecution.”

The new arrest is part of the Commercial Bribery Task Force's effort to shut down “a criminal conspiracy that is spreading like a stain across the state’s health care industry,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu stated.

Baptiste allegedly took tens of thousands of dollars from Ata “Danny” Chaudhry – the owner of MRNJ Newark, MRNJ Oradell, and Hudson Radiology Center of New Jersey. Another facility owner, Tariq Din, 48, of Paramus, who owns Clifton MRI Facility, also known as Open MRI of Clifton, was also charged.

Din and Chaudhry pleaded guilty last month to "conspiracy, money laundering, commercial bribery, and misconduct of a corporate official for paying more than $850,000 combined to more than 15 physicians and other professionals in exchange for referrals to their MRI facilities,” according to investigators.

The pair allegedly forked over $850,000 to more than 15 health care professionals during the course of their pay-for-imaging hustle, according to Westfield Patch.

These cases stem from an August 2015 indictment against Dr. Manoj Patharkar and Mohammed Shamshair. They were charged in a $3.6 million money laundering scheme to dodge taxes.

The recent cases also grew out of “Operation Rayscam”, spearheaded by the Office of Insurance Fraud, that resulted in Rehan Zuberi, his wife, and three other defendants all pleading guilty over bribes to doctors for medical imaging referrals.

Zuberi agreed to roll over on his cronies who took his bribes in exchange for a plea deal that included not sending him back to his native Pakistan, according to NorthJersey.com.
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