|TRENTON - Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that a Central Jersey chiropractor pleaded guilty today to fraudulently obtaining more than $650,000 by illegally using “runners” to recruit motor vehicle accident patients to his chiropractic businesses. The defendant also admitted to growing marijuana plants.
Scott Greenberg, 53, of Franklin Township, Somerset County, a doctor of chiropractic, pleaded guilty to a criminal accusation charging him with second-degree theft by deception, third-degree conspiracy and third-degree criminal running activity before Superior Court Judge Julie M. Marino in Somerset County. Greenberg also pleaded guilty today to second-degree manufacturing, distributing or dispensing a controlled dangerous substance, a charge contained in an Aug. 29, 2012 state grand jury indictment obtained by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor and unsealed on Dec. 3.
“By paying ‘runners’ to recruit patients to his chiropractic businesses, this defendant greedily chose to care more about his bottom line than he did about motor vehicle accident victims,” Attorney General Chiesa said. “As reflected in today’s guilty plea, such behavior will be prosecuted by my office to the fullest extent of the law.”
Judge Marino scheduled sentencing for March 1. Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Greenberg be sentenced to eight years in state prison with the sentences for all charges running concurrently. The Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will request that Greenberg be ordered to pay $655,594 in restitution at the time of sentencing. The matter has been referred to the New Jersey Board of Chiropractic Examiners, which may impose additional sanctions. The matter has also been referred to DOBI for imposition of additional civil penalties for violation of the Insurance Fraud Prevention Act.
Greenberg is the owner/operator of Central Jersey Chiropractic and Rehabilitation Centres, which has locations in Central and North Jersey. In pleading guilty to the criminal accusation, Greenberg admitted that between Feb. 21, 2009 and July 27, 2011, he paid money to “runners” for recruit motor vehicle accident patients to his chiropractic businesses. An investigation by the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that Greenberg paid the runners a total of approximately $100,000 for the solicitation and referral of approximately 164 patients. Greenberg further admitted that, during that same time period, he illegally obtained a total $655,594 in reimbursement from various insurance companies as result of the illegal “running” scheme.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Ronald Chillemi noted that New Jersey law includes an “anti-running statute,” which imposes criminal penalties for acting as a runner or using, directing, or employing a runner. The statute defines a runner as a person who attempts to procure a patient or client at the direction of and for a health care professional or attorney in exchange for a pecuniary benefit, when the health care professional or attorney intends to assert a claim against an insured person or an insurance carrier for providing services to the patient or client.
Greenberg was one of seven defendants charged on July 27, 2011 in connection with this scheme. Two of the “runners” in the scheme previously pleaded guilty and were sentenced in 2012. Jimmy Tovar, 36, of Perth Amboy, was sentenced to three years in state prison and Claribel Torres, 30, of Trenton, was sentenced to four years of probation and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine. The matters against the other “runners” are still pending.
In pleading guilty to the drug charge, Greenberg admitted that he was growing marijuana plants in his home. When investigators executed a search warrant at Greenberg’s residence on the “runner”-related matter, they found 13 actively growing marijuana plants. Investigators also found marijuana paraphernalia at the same location.
Deputy Attorney General Steven Farman was assigned to the case. Detectives Michael Rasar, Kelly Howard and Natalie Brotherston coordinated the investigation. Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi thanked the United States Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their assistance in the investigation.
Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Chillemi noted that several important cases have started with anonymous tips. People who are concerned about insurance cheating and have information about a fraud can report it anonymously by calling the toll-free hotline at 1-877-55-FRAUD, or visiting the Web site at www.NJInsurancefraud.org. State regulations permit a reward to be paid to an eligible person who provides information that leads to an arrest, prosecution and conviction for insurance fraud.