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N.J. Doctor Pleads Guilty To Accepting Bribes From Lab, Faces Up To 5 Years In Prison

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NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A New Jersey doctor has pleaded guilty in connection with a long-running bribery scheme, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

New Jersey’s U.S. attorney’s office said Wayne Lajewski pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Newark to a count of accepting bribes.

Prosecutors say the 51-year-old physician, who has a practice in Madison, admitted to accepting bribes of $2,000 cash per month over a two year period in exchange for referring patient blood specimens to the Parsippany-based Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services LLC. Prosecutors say BLS received more than $850,000 for the test referrals.

Lajewski faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 8.

As part of his guilty plea, Lajewski agreed to forfeit $48,000, representing the bribes he received from BLS. The BLS investigation has so far recovered more than $7 million through forfeiture.

Lajewski is among 26 people – including 15 physicians – who have pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme, which prosecutors say resulted in more than $100 million in payments to BLS from Medicare and various private insurance companies.

The U.S. attorney’s office announced a number of arrests relating to the BLS bribery scheme last April.

According to the complaint unsealed at the time, investigators allege that since 2006, BLS funneled cash to doctors in exchange for ordering tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary blood tests.

“By taking the money, doctors put illegal profits before the interests of their patients,” U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. “BLS put money between doctors and their oath.”

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