A chiropractor from Manalapan with a practice in Elizabeth is one of seven practitioners charged with taking hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of kickbacks from the same medical imaging firm for referrals.

Sergiy Palamarchuk - ThinkStock
Sergiy Palamarchuk - ThinkStock

Dr. Allan P. Epstein, 45, was charged Wednesday with health care claims fraud and commercial bribery, according to information from the office of acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

Also processed in Whippany and released on bail were  Dr. William Steck Sr., West Orange; Dr. Simon Santos-Arias, Guttenberg; Dr. James Cahill, Franklin Lakes; Dr. Guillermo Munoz, Union; and Dr. Michael Gross, New York, NY.

The six doctors and one chiropractor are accused of taking bribes to steer at least 20,000 referrals to Diagnostic Imaging Affiliates (DIA) between 2008 and 2013, which involved Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurer payments in the millions, authorities said.

Epstein is accused of referring dozens of scans worth thousands of dollars in exchange for architectural and permit fees amounting to about $2,000 for expansion of Epstein Chiropractic in Elizabeth. Prosecutors also allege that the Zuberi organization furnished Epstein with about $4,000 a month for patient transportation costs between September 2012 and December 2013.

Searches were conducted in June at 10 DIA-owned facilities in north and central Jersey in June, along with its billing offices and three homes, investigators said.

DIA owner Rehan "Ray" Zuberi, 45, of Boonton, is alleged to have led a criminal enterprise that funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to health professionals to gain referrals for highly-priced exams such as MRI and PET scans. Payments were completed in the form of checks from bogus corporations, gift cards and certificates, and coverage of costs for patient transport and renovations, authorities said.

If you suspect illicit insurance practices, you can report them anonymously to New Jersey authorities at www.njinsurancefraud.org, or by phone at 1-877-55-FRAUD. State laws permit rewards for information that leads to an arrest, prosecutions, and convictions.

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