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A New Jersey public school teacher was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to defraud a state educators health benefits program with phony claims, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said. 

Jason Nardachone, 45, of Nutley, Essex County, is charged with conspiracy for participating in a false prescription scheme costing the New Jersey School Employees' Health Benefits Program more than $550,000.

On Thursday, he made his first appearance in federal court in Newark before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Hammer.

The U.S. Attorney General's Office alleges Nardachone and three other co-conspirators billed prescribed compound medications, such as metabolic vitamins, pain creams and scar creams to the benefits provider, with each prescription costing between $3,300 to $22,800.

The prescriptions were not needed and Nardachone is said to have bribed the others with monthly payments of $500 to fill the prescriptions. Court documents said Nardachone ran the scheme between September 2015 to February 2016.

If convicted of conspiracy, Nardachone could face a maximum of 10 years in state prison and a $250,00 fine. 

The investigation into school employee benefits program case was led FBI Special Agent Gregory W. Ehrie and other FBI agents in Newark. 

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Staff Writer

Joined the Press in November 2016. Graduate of Quinnipiac University. Previously worked as a freelance reporter in suburban Philadelphia and news/talk radio producer.

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