As part of a kickback scheme within UMDNJ, two doctors [ Bakul Desai, 52, of Livingston and Laxmipathi Gari palli, 59, of Colts Neck ] were hired as clinical assistant professors at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, despite having no research credentials. They gave no lectures, taught no classes and acknowledged that they essentially did nothing more than refer patients for cardiac procedures while receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary over three years.
The story continued:
In proceedings yesterday before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler in Newark, the doctors pleaded guilty to embezzling approximately $840,000 in payments from the university. The physicians stood quietly, answering questions with simple "Yes" or "No" answers. Both face possible jail time and suspension or revocation of their medical licenses.
U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said others will be held accountable.
"UMDNJ has a culpable role in all of this," Christie said. "Don't take from these two guilty pleas today (the idea) that the institution itself is off the hook, because I will say quite clearly it is not."
Had New Jersey's plans for stem cell research continued, UMDNJ would have played a key role.
Staggering Fraud at UMDNJ
A story in NJBiz reminded readers of the previous fraud at UMDNJ:
The U.S. Attorney took a strict oversight role of the university in December 2005, after it was discovered that UMDNJ conducted $4.9 billion worth of Medicaid fraud and other abuses. The oversight ended in December, and the criminal complaint charging health care fraud was dismissed.