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Franklin Lakes Doctor Gets 18 Months In Fed Pen For Test Company Bribes

Martin Luther King Jr. federal courthouse, Newark
Martin Luther King Jr. federal courthouse, Newark Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J. -- A physician from Franklin Lakes was sentenced to a plea-bargained 18 months in federal prison Wednesday for his role in a massive test-referral bribery scheme.

Basel Batarseh, 57, will have to serve the entire term: There is no parole in the federal prison system.

Batarseh, who had an internal medicine practice in West New York, previously admitted that he took more than $104,000 in payoffs from employees and associates of Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS) of Parsippany between November 2007 and August 2010.

In exchange, Batarseh said, he generated more than $1.3 million in lab business for BLS.

In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler sentenced Batarseh to one year of supervised release, fined him $7,500 and ordered forfeiture of $104,611 as restitution.

Batarseh was charged as part of a massive investigation that has so far produced convictions of 53 defendant – 38 of them doctors – in connection with the multi-million bribery scheme.

It's believed to be the largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a bribery case.

Authorities have recovered more than $13 million through forfeiture.

BLS, which is now defunct, was previously ordered to forfeit all of its assets after organizers admitted in June 2016 that they illegally connected more than $100 million in payments from Medicare and various private insurance companies.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI; inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; agents from IRS–Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General with the ongoing investigation.

The government is represented by Senior Litigation Counsel Joseph N. Minish, Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Alfonzo Walsman and Jacob T. Elberg, chief of the Carpenito's Health Care and Government Fraud Unit in Newark, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Ward of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Unit.

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