NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 50 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to defraud New Jersey state benefit programs, , U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Brian Catanzarite, 43, a former gym owner from Cedar Grove, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an information charging him with one count of healthcare fraud. Judge Vazquez imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

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Catanzarite admitted that from March 2015 through January 2017, he conspired to defraud New Jersey state benefit programs. Catanzarite was recruited by one of his former gym members to become a sales representative of a company that marketed compounded medications. The marketing company received a percentage of every prescription that its sales representatives steered toward a particular compounding pharmacy.

To maximize his profit, Catanzarite convinced state beneficiaries to obtain compounded medications regardless of their medical necessity. On several occasions, Catanzarite even paid an advanced nurse practitioner, introduced to him by the marketing company, or used a telemedicine service that was paid for by the marketing company, to fraudulently obtain compounded medication prescriptions. Catanzarite caused losses of at least $3.5 million and personally made over $1.1 million from the scheme.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Vazquez sentenced Catanzarite to three years of supervised release and ordered restitution of $3.5 million.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ehrie; and the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey of the DCIS Northeast Field Office, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented in these cases by Assistant U.S. Attorney Erica Liu, Chief of the U.S. Attorney's Office Opioid Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Unit in Newark.