New Jersey mayor indicted in imaging center kickback scheme

Felix Roque, MD, the mayor of West New York, N.J., has been indicted by a state grand jury on numerous charges related to the “Operation RayScam” radiology kickback scheme. Rogue faces charges of second-degree healthcare claims fraud, second-degree commercial bribery and third-degree running.

Rogue, who operates his own medical practice in West New York, allegedly referred patients to Rehan “Ray” Zuberi’s diagnostic imaging centers for MRI and CT scans from 2007 to 2012. In exchange, he allegedly received over $250,000 from Zuberi in cash and election campaign contributions.

“By allegedly taking approximately a quarter-million dollars in bribes, Mayor Roque put his personal wealth and political career ahead of his patients’ needs,” John J. Hoffman, acting attorney general of New Jersey, said in a statement. “As evidenced by this multi-phased prosecution, we are intent upon ensuring that a medical practitioner’s professional opinion is not for sale in New Jersey and that all medical advice is given with only a patient’s best interests in mind.”

In May, Zuberi pleaded guilty to first-degree financial facilitation of criminal activity and second-degree conspiracy to commit commercial bribery. He and his wife, Humara Paracha, bribed physicians in exchange for referrals to the New Jersey-based medical imaging centers they owned and operated.  

Zuberi was sentenced to ten years in prison, but has agreed to help prosecutors for a possible reduced sentence. Paracha pleaded guilty to third-degree conspiracy to commit commercial bribery and was sentenced to three years of probation.