A New Jersey chiropractor whose license was revoked more than 15 years ago is now headed to prison for his role in a medical fraud ring that stole nearly $4 million from insurance companies.
Authorities say Philip Potacco used a medical consulting group to recruit accident victims and people who staged car crashes so he could submit bogus insurance claims. He also allegedly hired a licensed chiropractor to serve as a front man of a practice Potacco himself ran for five years.
Over a five-year period, Potacco funneled approximately $3,991,812 in claim money into the medical group’s account. He then laundered the lion’s share of that money through a shell company called Medical Consulting Group LLC. Once he transferred the money into the MCG account, Potacco used the account for personal use, withdrew thousands of dollars in cash, and wrote checks to deposit in his own name and his wife’s name.
The investigation further revealed that Potacco collected money for referring patients to a South Orange personal injury attorney who filed insurance claims on their behalf, the investigation revealed. Potacco, under the licensed chiropractor owner’s name, provided falsified medical reports to support those claims.
The chiropractor who acted as the front man, John Langeraap, has pleaded guilty to second degree conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and is awaiting sentencing.
The attorney who paid for the referrals, Mark Gertner, pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal running.
Other defendants in the case who pleaded guilty to third-degree running are Anulet Josaphat, who was sentenced to probation; and Wilguere Rezan, who is awaiting sentencing. Andre J. Richemond pleaded guilty to obstructing the administration of law, a disorderly persons offense, for his role in the scheme and is awaiting sentencing.
In 2006 Potacco was sentenced to serve three years’ probation and to pay more than $48,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to theft by deception. In pleading guilty, Potacco admitted he continued to see patients after the state Board of Chiropractic Examiners revoked his license for misconduct in 2002. He also admitted he submitted nearly $100,000 in billings to insurance companies for medical services and treatments provided to patients while his license was revoked.
“Despite being stripped of his chiropractic license, Philip Potacco ran a medical practice that served as a front to steal millions of dollars from numerous insurance companies,” said Attorney General Porrino. “The lengthy prison sentence he is now facing will serve as just punishment for his brazen disregard for the law in masterminding this elaborate criminal enterprise.”
Philip Potacco received a seven-year sentence Friday and also must pay $3.5 million in restitution. He had pleaded guilty last November to money laundering, official misconduct and practicing chiropractic without a license.