- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Another person has pleaded guilty in a long-running bribes-for-test referrals scheme involving a northern New Jersey firm.

Federal prosecutors say 48-year-old Michael Zarrelli, of Berkeley Heights, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to bribe a doctor and money laundering. He faces up to 25 years when he’s sentenced June 30 and will forfeit $247,264 - the amount he received from Parsippany-based Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services.

Zarrelli admitted conspiring with lab officials and others to pay cash bribes to a doctor in return for referring patient blood specimens. The referrals sent to the firm by the doctor Zarrelli bribed generated more than $400,000 in lab business.

Thirty-seven people - including 24 physicians - have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme. Its organizers have admitted the scheme involved millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100 million in payments to the company from Medicare and various private insurance companies.

The investigation has recovered more than $10.5 million so far through forfeiture.

Several people connected with the lab have pleaded guilty, including president and part-owner David Nicoll and his brother, Scott, a senior employee.

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