A Livingston doctor who accepted kickbacks to refer patients to Orange Community MRI was sentenced to six months in prison and six months of home detention on Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
Daisy Deguzman, 70, of Livingston received the sentence before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark federal court.
In addition to her prison term, Deguzman was sentenced to two years of supervised release, fined $20,000 and ordered to forfeit $23,595, the U.S. Attorney's office announced in a release.
According to court testimony, Orange Community MRI paid Dwguzman kickbacks for each Medicare or Medicaid beneficiary MRI or CAT Scan referred since at least 2010, officials said.
Deguzman along with 12 other New Jersey doctors and one nurse practitioner were arrested and charged on Dec. 13, 2011 for taking similar cash kickback payments from Orange MRI. On Dec. 8, 2011 an Orange MRI executive was also arrested and charged in connection with his participation in the scheme.
Deguzman pleaded guilty before Cecchi in court on June 4, 2012.
“Patients have every right to expect their doctors will recommend medical service providers because they do the best job, not because they provide the best bribes,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. “The sentence handed down today shows the federal healthcare system cannot be abused by those practitioners who see a person in need of care as an opportunity to illegally make an extra buck.”
Officials said, during the course of the investigation, Deguzman received three separate payments from a cooperating government witness:
- On Oct. 11, 2011, Deguzman accepted $1,700 in cash for her September 2011 referrals to Orange MRI;
- On Nov. 17, 2011, she accepted $1,130 for her October 2011 referrals to Orange MRI,
- On Dec. 6, 2011, she accepted another $1,000 for her November 2011 referrals to Orange MRI.