A Scarsdale internist who practiced in Yonkers admitted taking $400,000 in payoffs for lab test referrals as part of what federal authorities said is the nation’s largest-ever bribery case of its kind.
Ricky J. Sayegh, 44, pleaded guilty to violating the Federal Trade Act before a U.S. District Court judge in Newark on Thursday.
Sayegh admitted taking the bribes from Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC (BLS), of Parsippany, its president and various associates in return for referring blood specimens to them from February 2010 through April 2013.
The referrals generated more than $1.4 million in lab business for BLS, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick said.
A far-reaching investigation so far has produced 45 convictions – 31 of them of doctors – involving millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100 million in payments to BLS from Medicare and various private insurance companies, the U.S. attorney said.
Federal authorities have recovered more than $12 million through forfeiture – including all of now-defunct BLS’s assets.
The case busted open in early 2013, when federal agents arrested David Nicoll, the BLS president and part owner from Mountain Lakes, NJ, along with Scott Nicoll of Wayne, a senior BLS employee and David Nicoll’s brother, and Craig Nordman, of Whippany, a BLS employee and the CEO of Advantech Sales LLC – an entity that authorities said was used by BLS to make illegal payments.
Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, IRS–Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, as well as inspectors from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, with making the case.
The judge scheduled Sayegh’s sentencing for Sept. 6.