- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - A salesman for a now-defunct New Jersey laboratory firm who took part in a long-running bribes-for-test referrals scheme is now headed to prison.

Federal prosecutors say Michael Zarrelli received a 20-month sentence Wednesday. The 50-year-old Berkeley Heights man also must forfeit $247,264 he received from Parsippany-based Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services.

Zarrelli pleaded guilty of to conspiring to bribe a doctor and money laundering charges. He admitted plotting with high-ranking BLS officials to pay bribes to doctors who referred patients to the firm.

Prosecutors say the referrals sent to BLS by the doctor that Zarrelli bribed generated more than $400,000 in lab business for company.

Forty-one people - including 27 physicians - have pleaded guilty in the scheme. It involved millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100 million in payments to BLS from Medicare and various private insurers.

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