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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
May 20, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director
Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- Greta Gooden Brown, Insurance Fraud Prosecutor

 

John R. Hagerty
609-984-1936

 

Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Charge Essex County Chiropractor and Office Manager with $12,000 Insurance Fraud Scam

TRENTON - Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor has charged an Essex County chiropractor and office manager for allegedly paying “runners” to illegally secure patients and to fraudulently increase the amount of money obtained from insurance companies. The “runners” were under cover State Investigators assigned to the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor.

According to Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Eugene Ruta, 43, a licensed chiropractor formerly employed at Valley Total Health Center, Orange, Essex County, was charged via a State Grand Jury indictment with conspiracy, three counts of Health Care Claims Fraud (2nd degree), and two counts of Criminal Use of Runners (3rd degree). The indictment also charged Andrew Farro, 43, former office manager at Valley Total Health Center, with conspiracy, six counts of Health Care Claims Fraud (2nd degree), and two counts of criminal use of runners (3rd degree). If convicted of all charges, Ruta and Farro both face more than 20 years in state prison and fines exceeding $100,000. The defendants will be ordered to appear in Essex County Superior Court to answer the charges on a date to be determined. The case will be referred to the Professional Licensing Board which has the responsibility for licensing chiropractic physicians for appropriate action.

The indictment alleges that Farro agreed to pay “runners” $500 for every patient the “runner” could bring to Valley Total Health Center. It is charged that Farro paid more than $2,000 to the “runners” - in realty, undercover State Investigators. As a result of the alleged “runner” activity, Farro submitted more than $12,499 in fraudulent billings to Parkway Insurance Company for medical services purportedly provided to the “patients,” including chiropractic services that were not provided. Parkway paid $5,945 to Valley Total Health Center for the insurance claims.

Deputy Attorney General Andrew Fried coordinated the investigation and prosecution. The Newark Police Department and Parkway Insurance Company assisted in the investigation. The indictment was handed up on May 12 to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg.

An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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