The cardiologist with offices in South Paterson accused of taking bribes, trip, and loan in exchange for referring patients to a medical lab in Parsippany that made millions through a long running test-referral scheme pleaded guilty on Wednesday, according to acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick.
Aiman Hamdan, 50, of Wayne, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes in violation of the Federal Travel Act. His wife, Kristina Hamdan, 39, of Wayne, pleaded guilty to violating the federal anti-kickback statute and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
Authorities said the cardiologist was given a $500,000 loan by now-defunct Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services (BLS) in September 2008 to send patient blood samples to their labs. From October 2008 through November 2008, Hamdan (pictured) referred $53,000 worth of blood samples to the company. The lab received the $53,000 in payments from Medicare and private insurance companies.
Hamdan’s wife, a former salesperson for the lab, gave illegal bribes to other doctors from November 2009 through April 2013 to refer patient blood specimens to the lab, according to the government’s charging documents. She bribed an internal medicine doctor Yousef Zibdie, 53, of Wayne, in exchange for generating more than $900,000 in business for the lab.
Zibdie, who has offices in Woodland Park, received the bribe payments from Hamdan’s wife through a sham entity to obscure the source and nature of the payments, authorities said. Bribes were funded by the lab and paid to Zibdie through the sham entity that also paid the Hamdans’s household and personal expenses.
Zibdie received monthly bribe payments that totaled $80,000, authorities said.
Zibdie pleaded guilty to participating in a bribery conspiracy, violating the Federal Anti-Kickback statute, violating the Federal Travel Act, honest services wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering in June. At the time the Hamdans pleaded not guilty, according to their lawyers.
Hamdan faces five years in prison for his one count. His wife faces a maximum of 25 years in prison for her two counts. Each count carries a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
As part of their guilty pleas, the husband and wife agreed to forfeit and pay back $15,000 and $1.2 million in criminal proceeds, authorities said.
Hamdans are scheduled for sentencing on February 14, 2018, authorities said. Zibdie is scheduled for sentencing on December 6, 2017.
The three doctors are part of a large-scale bribery scheme that involved millions of dollars in bribes and produced more than $100 million in payments for the defunct lab from billing Medicare and various private insurance companies. So far authorities have secured 53 convictions, 38 of them doctors, (largest number of medical professionals ever prosecuted in a bribery case) through their investigation.