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Northfield pharmaceutical rep becomes ninth plea in health care fraud case

A pharmaceutical sales representative from Northfield admitted in Camden federal court Thursday that he made nearly $1.5 million in an ongoing health care fraud case.
Richard Zappala, 45, faces up to 10 years in federal prison for his role in the case that has seen several Atlantic County towns subpoenaed.
Zappala is one of several pharmaceutical representatives to admit to recruiting “patients” for the scheme that had doctors signing prescriptions for compound medications that were not needed, but each garnered the conspiracy thousands of dollars a month.
More pleas are expected over the next couple of month, said Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner, who said his office is investigating some of those with lesser involvement.
Tyner answered reporters’ questions Thursday, outside the courtroom where Dr. James Kauffman was arraigned on gun and obstruction charges.
Kauffman is seen and heard on a police body camera pulling a gun and threatening to shoot himself when investigators came to get records at his Egg Harbor Township office. He has not yet been charged in the conspiracy.
The only doctor to plead guilty so far is John Gaffney, who had a longtime practice in Margate.
As part of his plea, Zappala must forfeit the $1,492.918.19 he received for his role, and pay restitution of at least $4.3 million.

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