PARSIPPANY-TROY HILLS, NJ (Morris County) – A Morris County sonography company has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) to resolve criminal charges relating to kickback allegations and will pay $95,000 to resolve the civil claims, according to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger.
As part of the resolution, a criminal information was filed on Aug. 17, charging H&D Sonography LLC of Parsippany-Troy Hills with this conduct. H&D entered into a three-year DPA that requires it to abide by certain measures to avoid conviction.
H&D also entered into a civil settlement agreement under which it has agreed to pay $95,000 to the United States to resolve civil claims under the federal False Claims Act.
According to H&D’s admissions in the DPA, from January 2015 through December 2018 in the District of New Jersey, H&D and others agreed to pay rent in excess of reasonable value to physicians to induce the physicians to refer patients for diagnostic testing to H&D. These agreements called for inflated rent payments from H&D to the physicians, purportedly to use space in the physicians’ offices for a set number of hours each week in order to perform diagnostic tests.
H&D agreed to pay for significantly more hours than the technicians actually used, as a method to funnel payments to physicians. H&D structured the payments as sublease payments for the physicians’ shared offices. The sublease payments that H&D paid the physicians were more than the value of the total rent that the physicians actually paid for the shared offices. After H&D began making payments, the physicians in receipt of those payments began to refer patients to H&D for diagnostic tests, which were then billed to Medicare.
According to the contentions of the United States set forth in the civil settlement agreement, from Jan. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2018, H&D knowingly and willingly paid remuneration to referring physicians in the form of space rental payments that were above fair market value and commercially unreasonable for the purpose of inducing diagnostic testing, in violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute.
The civil allegations were originally made in a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act brought by Dr. Richard Chesbrough. The Act permits private parties to sue for false claims on behalf of the United States and to share in any recovery. Chesbrough will receive approximately 17 percent of the proceeds of the civil settlement.