A Chester resident and his partner in a chiropractic business were sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison for on over $1 million in earnings, according to a statement by Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa.
"These defendants not only preyed upon the vulnerabilities of motor vehicle accident victims to pad their own wallets, but also defrauded insurance companies and, ultimately, insurance consumers,” Chiesa said in a statement. “The sentences handed down today demonstrate that this type of egregious fraud will not be tolerated in the State of New Jersey and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
According to officials, Christopher Montana, of Chester, and Fernando Barrese of Washington Township (Bergen County) are the owners of Chiropractic Centre of Elizabeth, Chiropractic Centre of Newark and Chiropractic Centre of Jersey City. In addition, Barrese owned Wallington Chiropractic Center, located in Wallington.
As part of the sentence, the defendants were ordered to pay a total of $200,000 in restitution to a total of 15 insurance carriers. Barrese was ordered to pay $240,451 in back taxes, penalties and interest to the New Jersey Division of Taxation while Montana was ordered to pay $71,032. In addition, both men had their chiropractic license suspended for 18 months.
According to the Attorney General’s Office, in pleading guilty on Nov. 28, Montana and Barrese admitted that between February and July 2011, they referred approximately 100 patients from their chiropractic facilities, for additional services. The referrals were made in exchange for cash kickbacks of $500 per patient and all of the patients had been in automobile accidents, officials said.