President of NJ Clinical Laboratory, His Brother, A Senior Employee, Sentenced in $100M Test Referral/Bribery Scheme

The president of Parsippany based Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC and his brother – a senior employee at the now-defunct company – were sentenced today to federal prison terms for their respective roles in a conspiracy in which millions of dollars in bribes were paid to physicians for blood sample referrals worth more than $100 million to the company, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

According to authorities, David Nicoll, 44, of Mountain Lakes, was sentenced to 72 months in prison; Scott Nicoll, 37, of Wayne, was sentenced to 43 months in prison. Each defendant had previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to an information charging one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Federal Travel Act and one count of money laundering. Judge Chesler imposed the sentences today in Newark federal court.

“Today, the president of a diagnostic lab company and his brother were sentenced for their leading roles in a scam that led to one of the largest ever prosecutions of medical professionals in a bribery case,” U.S. Attorney Carpenito said. “Medical referrals from a doctor should be based on what’s in the patient’s best interest, not on how much money the doctor is offered in kickbacks. The number of doctors and medical professionals sent to prison in this case should make that message abundantly clear.”

The investigation has resulted in the convictions of 53 defendants – 38 of them of doctors – in connection with the bribery scheme, which its organizers have admitted involved millions of dollars in bribes and resulted in more than $100 million in payments to BLS from Medicare and various private insurance companies. It is believed to be the largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a bribery case. The investigation has recovered more than $15 million through forfeiture. On June 28, 2016, BLS, which is no longer operational, pleaded guilty and was required to forfeit all of its assets.

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

On April 9, 2013, federal agents arrested BLS president and part owner, David Nicoll; Scott Nicoll, a senior BLS employee and others, who were charged by complaint with bribery conspiracy, along with the BLS company. The conspiracy made millions in illegal profits between 2006 and April of 2013. David and Scott Nicoll admitted that BLS made substantially more than $100 million from Medicare and private insurance companies – just from bills related to blood specimens sent to BLS by bribed doctors.

Officials say BLS paid doctors millions of dollars – in cash or under the guise of sham lease, service, and consulting agreements through an elaborate network of shell entities used for that purpose. The defendants also admitted that one component of the bribery scheme was to pay some doctors a fee per test to induce them to increase their ordering of certain tests.

In addition to the prison terms, Judge Chesler sentenced the Nicolls to one year of supervised release.