August 8, 2014 at 12:51 AM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - American Imaging Center, located at 61 Main Street, has closed as a direct result of "Operation RayScam" targeting Rehan “Ray” Zuberi, 45, of Boonton Township, the owner of Diagnostic Imaging Affiliates and the alleged ringleader of a patient referral kickback scheme. Faisal Paracha, 30, of Fords, Rehan Zuberi’s brother-in-law, and part owner/manager of American Imaging of West Orange was also charged with first degree racketeering after raids in June on over a dozen involved imaging centers, including American Imaging, yielded damaging information.
The Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, revealed that the imaging centers provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal kickbacks to medical practitioners in exchange for patient referrals to Zuberi's testing facilities. It was also alleged that fraudulent applications were submitted to the New Jersey Medicaid Program and Department of Health and that the centers evaded paying income and franchise taxes among other illegal activities.
According to the Office of the Attorney General, Zuberi, the owner of Diagnostic Imaging Affiliates (DIA) in Hackensack, was the umbrella corporation and American Imaging, run by his brother-in-law Faisal Paracha, was one of the Zuberi's dozen centers raided on June 16.
“This alleged criminal enterprise wove its web of deception through a governmental program and at least two agencies,” Acting Attorney General Hoffman said. “This enterprise allegedly bilked millions of dollars from Medicaid, a program designed to help New Jersey’s most vulnerable population, failed to pay state taxes and submitted numerous fraudulent applications to the Department of Health. This type of criminal activity impacts not just the agencies defrauded, but also law-abiding, tax-paying residents of New Jersey who are forced to cover the costs of the fraud.”
Unfortunately, the employees and clients of American Imaging were left to figure out what to do next.
Gina Patrice Coscia, a former employee of American Imaging Center in Montville, told Tap into West Orange that all American Imaging Centers are currently closed. Coscia said that employees received a letter from the owner saying "They are trying to "clear" their name and reopen but it won't happen anytime soon. Right now we are fighting to get our wages and work with the Department of Labor."
Coscia said that she is finally getting some income and noted "We were really caught off guard and the worst part is that when the State came in to raid they didn't really tell us anything either. .. We spent a lot of time contacting the detectives and the owner's lawyers trying to piece it together."
"The owners really weren't great people or employers, so even though we were upset about losing our jobs, we felt like they got what they deserved."
For several West Orange residents that needed copies of their records, x-rays, and MRIs, the process to retrieve them just got a lot more difficult.
After attempting to contact American Imaging to no avail, one resident was able to get contact information for the Department of Justice from Assemblywoman Mila Jasey's office.
Tap Into West Orange received an email response on August 8 from Zach Hosseini, Public Information Officer for the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor. Hosseini said that "Patients looking for their medical records should contact the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor at 609-777-3625. We have staff assigned to ensuring records kept by American Imaging Center are made available to patients."
He also noted, "The Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor took no legal action preventing American Imaging from opening its doors and operating its business. You should check with American Imaging Center's owners as to whether they plan to re-open."