TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A doctor who serves as mayor of West New York, New Jersey was indicted Tuesday for allegedly taking cash bribes and other kickbacks for referring patients to a medical imaging company.
Acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman said West New York Mayor Felix Roque faces health care claims fraud and other charges. He could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted on all of the counts made public Tuesday.
Roque, 59, operates the Pain Relief Center medical practice in West New York. The attorney general’s office alleges that between 2007 and 2012 he referred patients to medical imaging centers controlled by Rehan “Ray” Zuberi in exchange for cash and campaign contributions. Prosecutors say Roque received about $250,000 from the scheme.
Zuberi pleaded guilty last month to running a criminal enterprise that paid millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to dozens of doctors. The 46-year-old Boonton resident was sentenced to 10 years in state prison and won’t be eligible for parole for four years.
The phone number at Roque’s medical office rang busy Tuesday afternoon. A call to the mayor’s office was referred to a Roque spokesman, whose voice mail was not accepting messages.
Roque was also charged in 2012 along with his son, Joseph, with illegally gaining access to computers of political foes who had set up a website urging the mayor be recalled. Roque was acquitted in U.S. District Court, but his son was convicted and sentenced to probation and community service.
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