ROXBURY, N.J. – A Roxbury man who formerly owned a Morristown pharmacy faces up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines for participating in a conspiracy that involved bribes and kickbacks, said authorities.
The man, Robert Fazzini, 53, of Succasunna, pleaded guilty in federal court on Tuesday, admitting that — as a pharmacist — he illegally gained $500,000 to $1.5 million through a conspiracy that violated the federal anti-kickback statute, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) in Newark.
It said Fazzini owned the defunct White’s Pharmacy in Morristown when the illegal activity took place in the summer and fall of 2015.
“Fazzini participated in a bribe and kickback conspiracy stemming from a scheme to obtain millions of dollars in health benefits from the federal workers’ compensation program by prescribing and dispensing expensive compound pain creams,” said the USAO.
It said a doctor in Jersey City doctor prescribed compound pain creams for patients, and a conspirator from Bergen County helped steer those prescriptions to White’s Pharmacy.
“In exchange for this arrangement, Fazzini routinely paid the conspirator bribes and kickbacks of approximately 50 percent of the reimbursement income White’s Pharmacy received for the pain cream prescriptions,” said the officials. “Fazzini and the conspirator attempted to conceal some of these payments by having Fazzini write checks to a relative and different entities associated with the conspirator.”
In the complaint, the government said Fazzini and White’s Pharmacy filled more than 370 prescriptions for the Jersey City doctor, including pain cream prescriptions, and received more than $2 million in reimbursements from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Workers’ Compensation Program.
It said Fazzini paid the coconspirator “a large percentage of those reimbursements as kickbacks and bribes” for help in steering the prescriptions from the doctor to White’s Pharmacy.
Fazzini pleaded guilty by video conference before U.S. District Judge Susan Wigenton to one count of conspiring to violate the anti-kickback statute, according to the USAO. He is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 8.
Conspiracy to violate the federal anti-kickback statute is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss derived from the offense, whichever is greater, said the USAO.
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