Washington Township resident Fernando Barrese was sentenced to seven years in state prison this week, according to a press release from New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa.
Barrese, 40, and his business partner, Christopher J. Montana of Chester, both pleaded guilty last month to receiving illegal kickbacks for referrals from their businesses, Chiropractic Centre of Elizabeth, Chiropractic Centre of Newark and Chiropractic Centre of Jersey City. Barrese also owns Wallington Chiropractic Center.
The men referred about 100 patients who had been in car accidents for kickbacks of $500 per patient, according to Chiesa.
The men also failed to report income totalling more than $1 million on their tax returns.
In addition to their prison time, the men will have to pay $200,000 restitution to insurance carriers and back taxes totalling more than $240,000 for Barrese and more than $70,000 for Montana.
Their chiropractic licenses will also be suspended for 18 months, with additional sanctions possible.
"These defendants not only preyed upon the vulnerabilities of motor vehicle accident victims to pad their own wallets, but also defrauded insurance companies and, ultimately, insurance consumers,” Attorney General Chiesa said in the release. “The sentences handed down today demonstrate that this type of egregious fraud will not be tolerated in the State of New Jersey and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”