Northfield board member pleads guilty in health care fraud case
A Northfield Board of Education member admitted to using his job as a pharmaceutical representative to bilk the state health care system of more than a half-million dollars.
Mark Bruno, 45, also admitted to obstruction of justice for instructing co-conspirators to lie to a grand jury.Two dozen others including doctors, firefighters and teachers already have pleaded guilty in the scheme that had doctors writing prescriptions for expensive — but unnecessary — compounds that were paid off with thousands through public employee insurance.Bruno made nearly $70,000 in the scheme that cost state health insurance $524,935, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
Bruno admitted introducing a doctor to the company and getting a percentage of the payments for prescriptions that the doctor wrote. The doctor would be compensated for signing the prescriptions to people recruited and paid by Bruno, according to the charges.
Two people Bruno paid to receive the medications told him this year that they had been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, according to the complaint.
Two others said they had been contacted by the FBI.Bruno told all four to lie and say he didn’t pay them, he admitted.Bruno chose not to run for re-election to his board seat, which expires at the end of the year. His attorney would not comment on his status.While running for re-election in 2016, Bruno told the Ocean City Sentinel that he was surprised to learn how important it is to be fiscally responsible without sacrificing the ability of the children to learn and the teachers to teach.
“There is a lot that goes into it,” he told the paper. “It is like a business; you have goals and financial restrictions. You want to do what is best for the children, but it is a balancing act.”The health care fraud and wire fraud conspiracy count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense. Bruno’s sentencing is scheduled for March 24.
Pleas in the case
- Dr. John Gaffney, 55, of Linwood: Margate doctor must forfeit $25,000. Cost: $24.9 million
- Michael Sher, 40, of Northfield: Margate firefighter must forfeit $1.7 million. Cost: tbd at sentencing
- Mike Pepper, 45, of Northfield: Atlantic City firefighter must forfeit $113,627.54. Cost: $719,000
- Richard Erick McAllister, 42, of Ocean City: Pleasantville High School English teacher must forfeit $456,806.23. Cost: $3.4 million
- Shawn Sypherd, 46, of Marmora: Middle Township Middle School social studies teacher must forfeit $354,264.06. Cost: $2.4 million
- Michael Pilate, 39, of Williamstown: Pleasantville schools counselor must forfeit $392,684.20. Cost: $3.5 million
- Matthew Tedesco, 42, of Linwood: Pharmaceutical representative must forfeit $11.1 million. Cost: $28.7 million
- Nicholas Tedesco, 44, of Linwood: local candy retailer must forfeit $782,766.56. Cost: $2 million
- Tara LaMonaca, 43, of Linwood: Pharmaceutical representative must forfeit $89,855.13. Cost: $530,527
- William Hunter, 43, of Sewell: Salesman must forfeit $245,020.08. Cost: $1.3 million
- Michael Neopolitan, 49, of Willow Grove, Pa.: Pharmaceutical representative must forfeit $198,617.14. Cost: $762,519
- Judd Holt, 42, of Marlton: Pharmaceutical representative must forfeit $95,574.49. Cost: $769,762
- George Gavras, 36, of Moorestown: Pharmaceutical representative must forfeit $204,002.02. Cost: $679,368.53
- Steven Urbanski, 37, of Marlton: Pharmaceutical representative must forfeit $113,600. Cost: $250,000
- Thomas Hodnett, 41, of Voorhees: Pharmaceutical representative must forfeit $270,000. Cost: $1.5 million
- Robert Bessey, 43, of Philadelphia: Pharmaceutical representative must forfeit $485,540.09. Cost: $2.7 million
- Richard Zappala, 45, of Northfield: Pharmaceutical representative must forfeit $1.5 million. Cost: $4.3 million
- Andrew Gerstel, 39, of Galloway Township: Pharmaceutical representative must forfeit $184,389.05. Cost: $483,946
- Timothy Frazier, 42, of Galloway Township: Commercial construction estimator must forfeit $145,425. Cost: $801,119
- Robert Madonna, 36, of Florida: Former Margate mortgage consultant must forfeit $179,370. Cost: $2.1 million.
- Kristie Abbott Masucci, 36, of Cedar Run: Pharmaceutical representative must forfeit amount to be determined at sentencing. Cost: $1.88 million.
- James Wildman, 44, of Marmora: Ocean City schools maintenance worker, must forfeit $657,040. Cost: $4.9 million.
- Corey Sutor, 37, of Ventnor: Ventnor firefighter, must forfeit $150,397.79. Cost: $2 million.
- Ed Sutor Jr., 36, of Linwood: Ventnor firefighter, must forfeit 335,551.81. Cost. $2.7 million.
- Mark Bruno, 45, of Northfield: Pharmaceutical representative, received $68,872. Cost: $524,935