CAMDEN — A former Ventnor firefighter on Friday joined a long list of local residents who pleaded guilty in a massive fraud scheme that cost the state more than $25 million in health benefits payouts to an out-of-state pharmaceutical company.
Edward Sutor Jr., 36, of Linwood, pleaded guilty in federal court Friday in Camden to defrauding New Jersey of more than $2 million in claims through the public employees health benefits system, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“He appeared today in court and entered a plea because he wanted to accept responsibility,” said Sutor’s attorney John Zarych, of Northfield.
Edward Sutor is the cousin of Ventnor firefighter Corey Sutor, of Egg Harbor Township, who also admitted in December to receiving about $150,000 for his role in the scheme. Corey Sutor’s current status with the department was unclear Friday.
“Ed was a very good firefighter. He did his job every day,” said Ventnor fire Chief Mike Cahill, who said Edward Sutor has resigned from the department. “I’m sorry this has come about like it has.”
So far, 24 people have accepted plea agreements in this case since August 2017. Seven more, including alleged ringleaders Sara and William Hickman, of Northfield, and co-conspirators John and Thomas Sher, Brian Pugh, Thomas Schallus and Christopher Broccoli, have pleaded not guilty.
Like his cousin Corey Sutor, Edward Sutor was named an owner of a company formed to market expensive and medically unnecessary compounded cream medications from May 2015 to February 2016. He and his other co-conspirators persuaded public employees like teachers, police officers, firefighters and state troopers to obtain those medications after learning the prescriptions would be reimbursed by the health insurance company for thousands of dollars for a one-month supply.
U.S. attorneys allege Edward and Corey Sutor’s company was part of an agreement to receive a percentage of the reimbursements paid to the Louisiana pharmaceutical company, which has yet to be named in court documents.
The information in this case said Edward Sutor recruited others and paid them hundreds of dollars a month. He admitted he received $335,552 for his role in the scheme.
As part of his plea deal, he will need to forfeit that money and pay restitution of $2,682,708.
He faces up to 10 years and a fine of $250,000.
His sentencing is scheduled for July 17.
Edward Sutor had worked for Ventnor since 2013 and made $90,092 a year, state records show.
Staff Writer Amanda Auble contributed to this report.