NEWARK, NJ- A Paterson-based cardiologist and his wife have both pleaded guilty to their participation in a massive bribery scheme orchestrated by a testing laboratory in Parsippany, according to a report from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of New Jersey.
Aiman Hamdan, 50, and Kristina Hamdan, 39, residents of Wayne, admitted to their roles in a scheme that has already resulted in 53 convictions and over $13 million in forfeitures, and is believed to be “the largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a bribery case.”
The US Attorney’s Office estimates the scheme, orchestrated by Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services, LLC (BLS) resulted in over $100 million in payments to the lab from Medicare and other insurance companies. BLS was shut down and plead guilty in 2016. They were required to forfeit all assets, which investigators are still piecing through to unravel a web of bribes and kickbacks. Thirty-eight doctors have already been convicted in the ongoing investigation.
In 2008, BLS gave Aiman Hamdan a loan of $500,000, which resulted in him referring $53,000 in blood samples to BLS. Today, he pleaded guilty to one count of accepting bribes in violation of the Federal Travel Act, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
His wife, Kristina Hamdan, a former employee of the lab, worked to illegally bribe doctors to refer patients’ samples to BLS, generating over $900,000 in business for the lab between 2009 and 2013. She pleaded guilty to two counts of a thirteen count indictment, which carry a combined penalty of up to 25 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000.
All bribes were bankrolled through a “sham entity” created by BLS. In addition to the bribes, this entity also paid for the Hamdan’s “household and living expenses.”
The Hamdans were also required to forfeit $15,000 and will have to pay back $1.2 million in criminal proceeds. Their sentencing hearing is currently set to be held on February 14, 2018.