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Doctor Sentenced to Prison in Laboratory Bribery-Referral Scheme

NEW YORK (360Dx) – A New Jersey internal medicine doctor has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $7,500 for his role in a test referral-bribery scheme, the US Attorney's Office District of New Jersey announced today.

Basel Batarseh, 57, of Franklin Lakes, New Jersey previously pleaded guilty to one count of accepting bribes in violation of the Federal Travel Act. The scheme was operated by the now-defunct Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services of Parsippany, New Jersey, its president, and numerous associates, according to the AG's office.

It said that Batarseh, who had a practice in West New York, New Jersey, accepted bribes totaling more than $104,000 from BLS employees and associates between November 2007 and August 2010. In return, he generated more than $1.3 million in business for BLS.

Along with the prison term and fine, Batarseh was sentenced to one year of supervised release and ordered to forfeit $104,611.

The investigation into the scheme has resulted in 53 convictions, 38 of them doctors, so far. In November, Ahmed El Soury was sentenced to 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and was fined $7,500 in connection to the scheme, which resulted in more than $100 million in Medicare and private insurance payments to BLS.

The same month, cardiologist Aiman Hamdan and his wife, Kristina Hamdan, pleaded guilty to various charges connected to the scheme.

The investigation into it has recovered more than $13 million through forfeiture, the AG's office said. In June 2016, BLS pleaded guilty and was required to forfeit all of its assets.