Day: December 14, 2021

Former Bordentown Physician Indicted for Narcotics Distribution and Fraud

December 14, 2021

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced that a former physician has been indicted on 21 counts of narcotics distribution and fraud charges for illegally prescribing thousands of highly-addictive opioid pills out of his Bordentown Township practice while simultaneously engaging in an unlawful medical billing scheme over a three-year period.

Morris “Moishe” Starkman, 62, of Yellowstone Road in Cinnaminson, was indicted by a grand jury on fifteen counts of Distribution of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (Second Degree), five counts of Health Care Claims Fraud (Second Degree) and one count of Insurance Fraud (Third Degree). The indictment was returned November 19 and signed by First Assistant Prosecutor Philip S. Aronow. An arraignment will be held soon in Superior Court.

Starkman was charged November 22, 2019, following the execution of a search warrant at his home during which multiple electronic devices were seized, along with business, financial and medical records.

The investigation determined that between January 1, 2015 and January 1, 2018, Starkman issued prescriptions through his Bordentown Family Practice for nearly 1,400,000 total doses of opioids, including Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Roxicodone, Endocet), Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, Lorcet, Lortab), Oxymorphone (Opana), Hydromorphone (Dilaudid), morphine and fentanyl.

The eight patients outlined in the criminal charges filed against Starkman received 11 doses of opioids per day on average during that period. One patient alone was prescribed 17,460 doses, which equates to more than 15 per day. They each received anywhere from four to 10 times the maximum dose recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The investigation revealed that Starkman would perform – at most – cursory examinations on patients before prescribing large amounts of opioids without medical justification, consideration of whether his patients were benefitting from the prescription painkillers he routinely and repeatedly prescribed, or exploration of the underlying causes for their pain.

Starkman maintained inadequate records on his patients which failed to document treatment plans for pain management or opioid use, or provide a legitimate medical purpose for prescribing such high quantities for an extended period of time. The reliance of his patients on the highly-addictive opioids he was prescribing insured they would frequently return to the practice for refills and be charged for an office visit.

“Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from overdoses and millions more struggle with Substance Use Disorder,” Prosecutor Coffina said. “In a great many of these cases, the person’s addiction began with prescribed opioids. Physicians who violated their oaths and patients’ trust by indiscriminately prescribing opioid medication without monitoring how their patients were doing on the drugs and whether they were becoming addicted must be held accountable for criminal conduct that has contributed to the destruction of lives and the relentless crisis of addiction so many are still dealing with.”

The investigation also revealed that Starkman, during that same time, submitted fraudulent health care claims to insurance companies for over $50,000 for services that were unauthorized, not eligible for reimbursement, not provided as represented or not rendered.

Starkman first came to the attention of law enforcement officials in late 2016 after an insurance company contacted authorities with a suspicion of illegal activity at his practice due to the high volume of opioid prescriptions he was writing.

The State Board of Medical Examiners temporarily suspended Starkman’s license in August 2017. Under a consent order reached in April 2018, Starkman agreed to permanently surrender his license to practice medicine in New Jersey.

Records seized from Starkman’s practice revealed that one of his patients fatally overdosed in May 2015, two months after his last visit to the Bordentown office.

The records indicated that during a visit in December 2014, Starkman continued to prescribe Oxycontin to the patient, despite noting that he was “slurring and falling asleep” during the visit. The following month, when the patient visited the office because he was “sick” and “ran out of all meds early again,” Starkman wrote him a prescription for a higher dosage of Oxycodone. During the patient’s final visit in March 2015, Starkman prescribed him 120 additional Oxycodone pills, despite noting that three days earlier he had been discharged from week-long stay at a mental health and addiction treatment facility where he had sought help for anxiety and panic attacks.

Due to insufficient evidence connecting his prescriptions to the patient’s fatal overdose, Starkman was not criminally charged in connection with the patient’s death.

Starkman is being prosecuted by Assistant Prosecutor Michael Angermeier, Supervisor of the BCPO Gang, Gun and Narcotics Task Force and First Assistant Prosecutor Philip S. Aronow.

The case was investigated by the BCPO Gang, Gun and Narcotics Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Diversion Control Division, with assistance from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Enforcement Bureau, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield Special Investigations, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

An indictment is an accusation. Defendants are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.

2021-104 Former Physician Indicted on Drug, Fraud Charges

East Windsor Participates in Womanspace Communities of Light

December 14, 2021

EAST WINDSOR, NJ (MERCER)–Mayor Janice S. Mironov, Deputy Mayor Peter Yeager, Council Members Denise Daniels, Alan Rosenberg, and John Zoller, as well as Chief of Police James Geary and police officers participated with The Peddie School students and residents in the 2021 Township Womanspace “Communities of Light” event at the East Windsor Municipal Building.  The purpose of “Communities of Light” is to raise funds for Womanspace and raise public awareness of domestic violence and resources and services available to abuse victims.  Participants purchased luminary kits and joined together at the municipal building to light candles around the entire perimeter and walkways of the municipal building.

Mayor Mironov stated, “‘Communities of Light’ is intended to serve as a beacon of hope for individuals and families who are impacted by the dreadful situation of domestic violence.  Our participation is to demonstrate our support of victims and their families, as well as recognition that domestic violence knows no boundaries and impacts every community regardless of race, religion or socio-economic background.”

Mayor Mironov added, “As a community we wish to express our strong support for organizations like Womanspace and our local Domestic Violence Victim Response Team and to recognize the important assistance they provide to victims of domestic violence.  We hope that our participation will help focus public attention on the important subject of domestic violence and to encourage residents to become more aware of support efforts and resources available to victims and families.”

Communities of Light raises funds for Womanspace, the primary non-profit organization in Mercer County providing crisis intervention and support for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.  The mission of Womanspace is to provide a comprehensive array of services to individuals impacted by domestic violence and dedicated to improving the quality of life for women and their families.

Mayor Janice S. Mironov and Council Members join with members of the Police Department at the municipal building for Township participation in “Communities of Light” event to raise funds and public awareness for Womanspace, the primary regional provider of services for victims of domestic abuse. Pictured (from left to right) are:   (front row) Sergeant Ryan Ballard;  Mayor Janice S. Mironov;  Council Member Denise Daniels;  Detective Michelle McCandrew;  Detective Sergeant Paul Wille;  (back row) Police Officer Tim Purpuri;  Lieutenant Jason Hart;  Council Member John Zoller;  Chief of Police James Geary;  Council Member Alan Rosenberg;  Deputy Mayor Peter Yeager;  Animal Control Officer James St. John;  Detective Sergeant Thomas Meyer;  Detective Robert Davison;  Lieutenant Ryan Mattek, and Detective Joseph Carabelli.

Mayor Janice S. Mironov is joined by members of The Peddie School Girls Basketball Team to light the first candle kicking off the Township Womanspace “Communities of Light” ceremony.

Mayor Janice S. Mironov and Council Members issue Proclamation designating December 6, 2021 as “Communities of Light” day on which East Windsor Township participated by lighting up the municipal building, to raise funds for Womanspace and focus public awareness on the important subject of domestic violence and support for victims and families. Pictured (from left to right) are:   Council Member John Zoller;  Mayor Janice S. Mironov;  Chief of Police James Geary;  Council Member Denise Daniels;  Council Member Alan Rosenberg;  Deputy Mayor Peter Yeager, and Township Manager James Brady.

Police arrest Pennsylvania man after TSA detects concealed handgun and ammunition in baggage at Newark Airport 

December 14, 2021

NEWARK, N.J.—Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected a handgun and ammunition artfully concealed inside a traveler’s checked baggage yesterday (December 13) resulting in his arrest.

The gun was found taped and wrapped in an ace bandage along with a handful of bullets that were detected inside a hollowed-out bar of soap. The items were detected among the traveler’s other belongings inside his checked bag. When the TSA officer spotted the items, Port Authority Police (PAPD) were contacted and the man was called to return to the airline check-in counter. PAPD arrested the man, a resident of Chester, Pa., on a weapons charge. He told officials that the gun was given to him by a deceased relative and he was planning to take it to Lagos, Nigeria.

“This individual knew what was in his checked bag and he intentionally attempting to conceal both the gun and ammunition to bring overseas,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security Director for New Jersey. “In addition to screening carry-on bags, TSA officers also screen all checked baggage before it is permitted to be loaded onto an airplane. This was a good catch on the part of our officers.”

TSA officers detected these bullets artfully concealed in a hollowed out bar of soap among his carry-on items. (TSA photo)

Improving the Patient Transport Experience: Sweet New Rides for Unterberg Children’s Hospital Patients

December 14, 2021

LONG BRANCH, NJ (MONMOUTH)–The Unterberg Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center (MMC) has a fun new way to transport their young patients to procedures in luxury style.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Freehold Township High School Football and Cheer Program, a fleet of luxury mini cars that includes a Mercedes, Bentley and Lamborghini will allow children to “drive” from their hospital beds to a treatment room or from a preoperative bed to the operating room, undoubtedly making the journey less stressful for pediatric patients.

“This is a fun distraction that we believe will certainly help reduce some stress for our young patients, and we are so thankful to the Freehold Township Football and Cheer Program for this generous and thoughtful donation,” said Jonathan Teitelbaum, M.D., Interim Chair of Pediatrics and Section Chief of Pediatric Gastroenterology. Dr. Teitelbaum notes that the children will feel like they are driving the cars, which are actually controlled by a staff member via remote control.

Freehold Township High School Football and Cheer Program coordinator Audra Whisten, who traveled to MMC on December 9 with her son, Nick, a sophomore and member of the football team, said that the team raised money to purchase the electric cars, and received a $1,000 donation toward their fund-raising from the Ryan O’Donoghue Memorial Foundation. The Foundation was started in memory of Freehold Township High School graduate Ryan Fintan O’Donoghue, who died April 13, 2020 at the age of 19.

Audra had previously traveled with members of the Football and Cheer Program on November 21 to join the annual toy run to benefit The Unterberg Children’s Hospital coordinated by the Blue Knights NJ XV and Jersey Shore HOGs motorcycle groups. Additionally, they contributed to the cash donation made by each rider that benefits The Comprehensive Cystic Fibrosis Center at The Unterberg Children’s Hospital. The Cystic Fibrosis Center — which includes both pediatric and adult programs — is accredited by the National Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is designated by the State of New Jersey as a referral center for Cystic Fibrosis Newborn Screening and has been designated as a Therapeutic Development Center by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Therapeutic Development Network.