A Jersey Shore man admitted on Wednesday that he had bribed drug addicts to enroll in rehab centers – some even in California – to collect setbacks.
Peter J. Costas, 26, of the Red Bank, told a federal judge by conference call that he had paid several addicts several thousand dollars to use certain rehab centers in New Jersey and other states.
He and a marketing company he had conspired with arranged trips abroad to drug treatment centers in California and other states, said lawyer Craig Carpenito.
In return, according to Carpenito, the conspirators could "generate transfer fees from these facilities".
The fraud cost health insurers millions, the US attorney said Wednesday.
Costas ran the program with several marketing companies, although one in particular was critical, said Carpenito.
The California-based company had contracts with drug treatment centers across the county and paid Costas for patient recruitment, he said.
In order to convince addicts who otherwise would not have enrolled or who would have traveled to the facilities, Costas offered bribes – "often up to several thousand dollars," said Carpenito.
Costas focused primarily on dependents with good insurance coverage, kept in touch with patients in New Jersey's facilities, and specifically instructed them to "stay long enough to generate referral payments," the US attorney said.
Costas and the marketing company often referred patients to different rehab facilities month by month to generate multiple referral payments, "regardless of whether drug abuse treatment was medically necessary or effective," said Carpenito.
In a conversation on Facebook, a patient told Costas that the patient would enroll in additional facilities to trigger additional referral and bribe payments if he kept his promise to pay.
"[J] has to grab the dough for us [sic] and take us to another place," wrote the patient. "Get paid more, feel. . . . I will continue to do this with you all year round [h]. As long as you get us right. "
When the patient later expressed doubts that Costas would pay the bribe, Costas replied, "Don't worry… I'll do it with SO MANY PPL [people]."
Costas and the marketing company sent patients to facilities in California and other states "that they knew were ineffective in drug therapy or that actually promoted drug use on their premises," said Carpenito.
The facilities typically paid the marketing company a fee of $ 5,000 to $ 10,000 per patient referral – about half of which Costas and his accomplices received, he said.
District Court judge Peter G. Sheridan was planning a September 29 conviction for Costa's guilty pledge to commit a healthcare fraud.
Carpenito attributed FBI agents to the investigation, which led to the confession of law backed by US Attorney Jason S. Gould from his Newark health care fraud department.
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