Day: December 7, 2021

Princeton Pathology Agrees to Pay $2.4 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

December 7, 2021

EWARK, N.J. – A New Jersey pathology practice will pay $2.4 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by making false representations in connection with submissions to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced today.

According to the government’s contentions in the settlement agreement:

Princeton Pathology Services P.A. (Princeton Pathology) submitted claims to Medicare under Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code 85390-26 from Jan. 1, 2015, through Dec. 31, 2020. This CPT code requires written analysis by a pathologist, but Princeton Pathology submitted claims using this code without written substantiation in medical records. As a result, Princeton Pathology billed Medicare for analysis of tests that did not require analysis, causing Medicare to significantly overpay.

Contemporaneous with the civil settlement, Princeton Pathology also entered into a three-year Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), which requires, among other things, training, auditing, and monitoring designed to address the conduct at issue in the case as well as evolving compliance risks on an ongoing basis.

“Federal health care programs rely on practitioners to accurately bill for services they perform,” Acting U.S. Attorney Honig said. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey will hold accountable physician practices that seek payment for unnecessary or unsubstantiated services.”

“Submitting claims for unsubstantiated services threatens the integrity of the Medicare program and will not be tolerated,” Scott J. Lampert, HHS-OIG Special Agent in Charge said. “We will continue to protect patients and taxpayers by holding accountable providers who endanger the integrity of federal health care programs and the beneficiaries they serve.”

The allegations arose from a lawsuit filed under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act by Jayant Barai M.D. The False Claims Act permits private parties to sue for false claims on behalf of the United States and to share in any recovery. Dr. Barai will receive $456,000 from the federal share of the settlement.

The government’s pursuit of this lawsuit illustrates its efforts to combat healthcare fraud. One of the most powerful tools in this effort is the False Claims Act. Tips and complaints from all sources about potential fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement can be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services, at 800‑HHS‑TIPS (800-447-8477).

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the HHS-OIG, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Lampert; and special agents of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas Mahoney, with the investigation leading to the settlement.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Meyler of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.

The lawsuit is captioned United States ex rel. Barai v. Princeton Pathology Services, P.A., et al. (D.N.J.). The claims settled by this agreement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.


Counsel for Relator: Daniel R. Miller & Jonathan DeSantis, Walden Macht & Haran LLP
Counsel for Princeton Pathology: John Hogan & Grace Mack, Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer P.A.

Trenton Drug Dealer Sentenced to Eight Years in NJ State Prison for Overdose Death of Customer

December 7, 2021

BURLINGTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)–Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a Trenton drug dealer has been sentenced to eight years in New Jersey state prison for the death of a Burlington Township customer who fatally overdosed on fentanyl-laced heroin he sold to her in 2018.

Daquan Marshall, 30, who pled guilty in September to Strict Liability for Drug-Induced Death (First Degree), must serve 85 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole. The sentence was handed down December 2 by the Hon. John J. Burke III, J.S.C.

Marshall had been lodged in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly since his arrest in April 2019. He originally faced drug distribution charges, but the offense was upgraded after the victim died and the investigation traced the drugs back to him.

“Our Office, and our local law enforcement partners, will continue to make the prosecution of fatal overdoses as a first-degree crime a top priority throughout Burlington County,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “Drug dealers know that selling fentanyl can be deadly to any given customer from any given dose, and we intend to hold them accountable for their reckless conduct.”

The investigation began on October 30, 2018, when officers from the Burlington Township Police Department were dispatched to Central Avenue for a report of a possible overdose. Upon arrival, officers discovered the victim in a bedroom with a hypodermic needle near her body.

The decedent, Alexandra Kohfeldt, 22, of Springfield, was transported to Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County, where she died November 4 without ever having regained consciousness. An autopsy performed by Burlington County Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood determined her death was due to fentanyl toxicity.

The investigation was conducted by the Burlington Township Police Department, the BCPO Gang, Gun and Narcotics Task Force, and the BCPO High-Tech Crimes Unit.

Marshall was prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Michael Angermeier, supervisor of the BCPO GGNTF.

2021-100 Trenton Drug Dealer Sentenced for Customer’s Death

Brick, NJ Man who is a Repeat Offender, Admits Possession of Child Pornography

December 7, 2021

TRENTON, N.J. – An Ocean County, New Jersey, man today admitted possessing thousands of images and videos depicting child sexual abuse, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Andrew Ramey, 34, of Brick, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti to an information charging him with one count of possession of child pornography.

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

From March 13, 2020, through June 8, 2020, Ramey downloaded and shared material containing images of child sexual abuse, via the BitTorrent Network, a publicly available online peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing network of linked computers. Users must download P2P software, which is widely available for free on the Internet. The software allows the user to place files into a designated “shared” folder on his or her hard drive, from which other BitTorrent users can then download those files directly to the “shared” folders of their own computers. Users can then search, select, and directly download, those files.

Law enforcement used investigative software to access the BitTorrent Network and downloaded video files containing images of child sexual abuse from a device or devices assigned to an IP address at Ramey’s residence. On Nov. 13, 2020, law enforcement searched Ramey’s residence and seized mobile phones belonging to Ramey. Analysis revealed the phones contained thousands of images and videos containing images of child sexual abuse, as well as BitTorrent software.

In a prior federal prosecution in 2018, Ramey was convicted of one count of possession of child pornography in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. For a repeat offender, the possession charge in the information carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, along with a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross pecuniary gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentencing is scheduled for April 12, 2022.

Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, Atlantic City, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jason J. Molina in Newark; detectives of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer; the Brick Police Department, under the direction of Chief James Riccio; and the Mount Laurel Police Department, under the direction of Chief Stephen Riedener, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander E. Ramey of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.


Defense counsel: Lisa J. Van Hoeck Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton

2nd Alarm Fatal Fire in Florence Township

December 7, 2021

FLORENCE TOWNSHIP, NJ (BURLINGTON)—Police say that last night December 6, 2021, around 5:50 p.m. police, fire and EMS responded to a house fire at 120 Coachmans Drive. Upon their arrival they observed fire through second floor roof. The 73-year-old resident Linda Jensen was found deceased as firefighters were extinguishing the fire. The fire is currently being investigated by the Florence Township Fire Marshal’s Office, the Florence Township Police Department’s Fire Investigation Team, the Burlington County Fire Marshal’s Office, New Jersey State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office. Police say that the fire does not appear to be suspicious. The fire is still under investigation to find the cause and origin.

2nd Alarm on Chase Court in Trenton

December 7, 2021

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–Four rowhouses on Chase Court, located off Chase Street near Brunswick Avenue, were damaged during a two-alarm fire early this morning (Dec. 7, 2021). The blaze was reported shortly before 6 a.m. and first-due fire companies immediately transmitted the “All Hands” signal for a working fire. It was reported that there was heavy fire on the first and second floors of one of the homes in the middle of the row, with flames extending via the cockloft into the attached houses. A short time later a Trenton EMS ambulance was requested for a reported burn victim, however it was not immediately clear if that individual was a resident or a firefighter. Much later during the incident, additional EMS units were called to the scene for a firefighter with a burned hand and another firefighter with a shoulder injury after a reported floor collapse. The second alarm was sounded at 6:20 a.m. for additional manpower. It wasn’t until 7:35 a.m. that the fire was officially declared under control.