A federal investigation of theft and fraud in the radiology departmentsof New Jersey hospitals has resulted in jail time and fines forseveral people who were sentenced last week for their involvementin the scams.
Dubbed "Operation Catscam," the FBI investigationuncovered several rings that defrauded hospitals and x-ray filmmanufacturers of millions of dollars by stealing film, forginginvoices and arranging kickbacks and bribes. Employees from hospitalradiology departments, x-ray film distributors and film manufacturerswere involved in the scams, which were cracked earlier this year(SCAN 6/17/92).
U.S. District Judge Maryanne Trump Barry handed down the firstsentences in the case last Thursday. The nine defendants sentencedare:
- John Klatte, former quality control supervisor ofradiology at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey. Klattepleaded guilty to stealing over $250,000 in film from the hospital.He was sentenced to one year in jail and was ordered to pay $75,000in restitution.
- John LaMarca, owner of LaMarca Ltd., an x-ray filmdistributor. LaMarca pleaded guilty to interstate transportationof stolen x-ray film. He was sentenced to nine months in jailand ordered to pay $62,500 in restitution to Christ Hospital ofJersey City, NJ and $23,300 to St. Michael's Medical Center ofNewark, NJ.
- Samuel DeNorchia, owner of Bergen X-Ray, an x-ray filmdistributor in Rochelle Park, NJ. DeNorchia admitted buying stolenx-ray film and laundering the proceeds from sales of the film.He was sentenced to home confinement for five months, given fiveyears probation, and ordered to perform 350 hours of communityservice at an inner city hospital. He was also fined $10,000 andordered to make restitution of $33,000 to Christ Hospital.
- Carl Celeste, owner of CRC X-Ray in Commack, NY. Celestepleaded guilty to interstate transportation of x-ray film stolenfrom New Jersey hospitals. He was sentenced to three years probationand ordered to serve 300 hours of community service. He was alsoordered to make restitution of $12,000 to film manufacturer Agfa,from which he stole x-ray film with the help of Robert Campbell,an Agfa executive. Campbell has pleaded guilty to stealing filmfrom the company but has not yet been sentenced.
- Matthew Scinto, former technical administrator of theradiology department at Passaic General Hospital. Scinto pleadedguilty to a count of wire fraud in connection with a theft of$24,000 in film from Du Pont and the planned theft of another$24,000. Scinto, who is seriously ill, was given three years probationand ordered to make restitution of $12,000.
- Leroy Eve, a former technical specialist who workedat different times for Konica and Fuji. He also worked part timeat two New York hospitals, Vassar Brothers and Columbia Presbyterian,from which he stole a total of $18,000 in x-ray film. Eve wassentenced to four months of home confinement, three years probationand ordered to make restitution to both hospitals.
- Jeffrey Kinder, a former sales representative for Konica.Kinder admitted buying stolen film from Eve. He was sentencedto three years probation and was ordered to pay $9000 in restitutionto Vassar Brothers and Columbia Presbyterian.
- Arthur Weitzman, owner of Terrex in Commack, NY. Weitzmanpleaded guilty to conspiring to launder the proceeds of $70,000in film stolen from Christ Hospital. He was sentenced to threeyears probation, 300 hours of community service and ordered tofinalize a $22,000 restitution settlement with Christ Hospital.
- Andrew Telymonde, owner of Mid X-Ray of Hazlet, NJ.Telymonde admitted paying $30,000 in kickbacks to the radiologymanager of Christ Hospital to obtain contracts to service x-rayequipment. He was sentenced to home confinement for six months,three years probation and a $5000 fine. He has already paid restitutionof $70,000.
Eleven other defendants have pleaded guilty to charges relatedto the scams and are awaiting sentencing, according to assistantU.S. attorney Ralph Marra. Most of the defendants sentenced lastweek were either middle or minor players in the scams, he said.Several cooperated with authorities and were given reduced sentences.
Despite the size and scope of the fraud, Marra said that thecase is not an example of organized crime infiltrating radiology.The rings were loosely connected in some instances but for themost part operated independently around each hospital.
The government's investigation is continuing, Marra said.