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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
September 8, 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

 

Rachel Sacharow
609-984-1936

 

Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Charges Former North Jersey Chiropractor with Treating Patients without a License and Billing Insurance Companies Nearly $100,000 for Illegal Treatments

 

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor, in conjunction with the Division of Consumer Affairs, has charged a former North Jersey chiropractor with continuing to practice chiropractic medicine after his chiropractic license was suspended and then submitting nearly $100,000 in billings to insurance companies for medical services and treatments provided to patients while his license was suspended.

According to Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden Brown, Philip Potacco, 53, Miller Road, Kinnelon, Morris County, was charged via a two-count State Grand Jury indictment with Health Care Claims Fraud and attempted theft by deception (both 2nd degree). If convicted on both charges, Potacco faces up to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $300,000. Potacco also faces possible civil insurance fraud fines. Potacco will be ordered to appear in Essex County Superior Court for arraignment and bail on a date to be determined by the Court.

"This defendant blatantly continued to practice chiropractic medicine even though his license was suspended. His alleged actions put the health of patients at risk and cheated New Jersey insurance companies out of tens-of-thousands of dollars," said Attorney General Harvey. "My office is taking direct aim at such corrupt schemes and will continue to aggressively investigate, arrest, and prosecute medical professionals involved in insurance fraud."

The State Grand Jury indictment alleges that from Dec.1, 1996 through Sept. 30, 2000, Potacco practiced chiropractic medicine even though his license had been suspended by the Board of Chiropractic Examiners on three separate occasions since 1985. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor determined that, despite not having a valid license to practice chiropractic medicine, Potacco continued to treat patients and provide chiropractic procedures while employed at chiropractic facilities located in Little Falls (Passaic County) and South Orange (Essex County).

The indictment charges that after performing the unlicensed chiropractic procedures, Potacco billed First Trenton Insurance Company, New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company, and State Farm Insurance Company, $98,175 in connection with the treatment of patients purportedly injured in automobile accidents. The insurance companies paid Potacco $48,022 of the total amount billed. On May 15, 2002, the Chiropractic Board accepted the voluntary surrender of Potacco’s license for practicing chiropractic medicine while suspended.

State Investigators Dennis Mazone and Laura Parisi, Civil Investigator Errol English, and Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Vasile were assigned to the investigation. DAG Vasile represented the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor before the State Grand Jury. The case was referred to the Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor by the State Farm Insurance Company and the Division of Consumer Affairs’ Enforcement Bureau.

“Fraud by professional health care providers is particularly disturbing as the integrity of the entire health care insurance claims process depends on the trustworthiness of the licensed professionals involved. The Office of Insurance Fraud Prosecutor will vigorously investigate and prosecute this type of criminal activity,” said Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Brown.

The indictment was returned to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg on Sept. 6. An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a Court of law.


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