- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A northern New Jersey doctor who was arrested last year in a medical lab kickback scheme was sentenced Monday to two years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler called it “a sad day” as he Handed down the sentence for Dennis Aponte, who also must forfeit $235,000 he allegedly earned from the scheme.

Aponte apologized in court as about 15 friends and family members looked on. The 46-year-old Cedar Grove resident pleaded guilty last year to violating the federal travel act.

Aponte admitted that he agreed to accept money to refer blood specimens from his West New York medical practice to Parsippany-based Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services. Prosecutors alleged at the time that the lab performed unnecessary tests that were then billed to Medicare and private insurance providers.

Aponte was paid about $3,000 per month by BLS, and the lab made more than $175,000 from the blood samples he provided, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

In addition to Aponte, several people have pleaded guilty including BLS president and part-owner David Nicoll and his brother, Scott, a senior employee. David Nicoll pleaded guilty to bribery conspiracy and money laundering and awaits sentencing.

Authorities have alleged the scheme operated for several years and defrauded Medicare out of tens of millions of dollars.

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