NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Two New Jersey men and a Florida man pleaded guilty Tuesday to running a health care fraud scheme involving orthotic braces.

Nicholas Defonte, 73, and Christopher Cirri, 63, both of Toms River, New Jersey, and Pat Truglia, 53, of Parkland, Florida, pleaded guilty to commit health care fraud, which carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence.

The U.S. attorney’s office alleged that the three and other defendants had hidden financial interests in companies that made the devices, and also owned and operated call centers that processed orders.

Prosecutors alleged that the call centers bribed telemedicine companies, which in turn bribed doctors to prescribe the devices for patients who didn’t need them. Companies owned by the defendants that made the devices fraudulently billed Medicare and other federal health care programs, prosecutors alleged in a criminal complaint.

Truglia, Defonte and Cirri, accused of causing losses of approximately $50 million to the health care programs, are scheduled to be sentenced in March. Two other New Jersey residents pleaded guilty in connection with the scheme in April.


Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday with attorneys representing Truglia, Defonte and Cirri.

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