A Lodi public school teacher today admitted his role in conspiring to defraud the state School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) with more than $550,000 in phony claims for medically unnecessary prescriptions .
Jason Nardachone, 51, of Nutley, in Essex County, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge John Michael Vazquez to an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
According to U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig, documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Nardachone participated in a scheme to defraud the the state teacher’s health system by knowingly causing the billing of medically unnecessary compounded medications, such as metabolic vitamins, pain creams, and scar creams, for himself and three other teachers.
From September 2015 through February 2016, Nardachone and others received medically unnecessary compounded medications that cost the SEHBP from $3,300 to $22,800 per medication.
Nardachone bribed three other teachers with monthly payments of $500 in exchange for their agreement to obtain compounded medications they did not need.
Nardachone conspired with Robert Agresti, a doctor from Essex Fells, New Jersey, who pleaded guilty on June 26, 2018 to his role in what federal authorities called largest health care fraud and opioid enforcement action ever taken by the Justice Department.
Honig said the scheme resulted in losses to the state of more than $550,000.
The count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 1, 2022.
Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua L. Haber of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.