Medical fraud pleas

A Linwood pharmaceutical representative and a Philadelphia man pled guilty to conspiracy to defraud a health benefits program today at the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in Camden. Thursday, August 17

ERIN GRUGAN / Staff Photographer

CAMDEN — The federal sentencing of 12 people — including an Atlantic City firefighter and a Margate doctor — connected to alleged health benefits fraud has been delayed until March.

The 12 accepted plea deals earlier this year in connection with the ongoing federal investigation into abuse of the State Health Benefits Plan.

Pharmaceutical representatives Robert Bessey, Steven Urbanski and Matthew Tedesco are scheduled to be sentenced March 26.

The trio originally were scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 4.

Former Atlantic City firefighter Michael Pepper, Dr. James Gaffney and pharmaceutical representatives Thomas Hodnett and Judd Holt are scheduled to be sentenced March 27, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

No reason was given for the delay.

U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler will preside over the sentencings.

Pharmaceutical representatives George Gavras, Richard Zappala, Michael Neopolitan and Andrew Grestel are scheduled to be sentenced March 28.

Timothy Frazier will be sentenced March 29.

Federal court documents detail a massive prescription-fraud scheme from January 2015 to April 2016 that involved recruiting public employees — teachers, firefighters, municipal police officers and State Police troopers — to obtain medically unnecessary prescriptions for patients whom doctors never treated.

The prescriptions included those for compounded pain creams, scar creams, antifungal creams, libido creams and certain vitamin combinations, all of which paid out generous reimbursements to the pharmacy from the health insurance plan.

In exchange for the prescriptions, the recruiters and the doctors received kickbacks from the out-of-state compounding pharmacy and paid co-conspirators, documents say.

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Contact: 609-272-7046 NHuba@pressofac.com Twitter @acpresshuba

Started working in newsrooms when I was 17 years old. Spent 15 years working for Gannett New Jersey before coming to The Press of Atlantic City in April 2015.

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