- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A northern New Jersey medical doctor has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for taking $100,000 in bribe payments.

The U.S. attorney’s office says Franklin Dana Fortunato, of Montville, was sentenced Friday after previously pleading guilty in a scheme that resulted in $100 million in payments to Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services from Medicare and other insurance companies.

Officials say Fortunato took up to $5,000 a month for referring patient blood samples to the company. The bribes were disguised as sham leases and service agreements, and the company made nearly $430,000 from the referrals from 2006 to 2009.

Fortunato also failed to report $540,000 in income from 2004 to 2008 from insurance payments.

Judge Stanley Chesler has ordered Fortunato to pay a $75,000 fine in addition to the prison term. He will also have to forfeit $635,000 as part of a plea agreement.

Fortunato, 65, operated a medical practice in Montclair.

Fortunato’s attorney declined to comment.

In addition to Fortunato, 38 people have pleaded guilty in connection to the bribery scheme, the U.S. attorney’s office said. To date, the federal investigation has recovered $11 million through forfeitures.

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