CAMDEN – A Margate doctor Tuesday admitted his role in defrauding New Jersey state and local health benefits programs and other insurers by submitting fraudulent claims for medically unnecessary prescriptions, U.S. Attorney Vikas Khanna announced in a release.
Brian Sokalsky, 44, of Margate, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler to one count of conspiring to commit health care fraud.
Sokalsky, pharmaceutical sales representative Vincent Tornari, 49, of Linwood, and former advanced nurse practitioner Ashley Lyons-Valenti, 66, of Swedesboro, were charged in a 33-count indictment in June 2020. Tornari pleaded guilty on March 14, and Lyons-Valenti pleaded guilty on Feb. 28 to their respective roles in the conspiracy.
According to court documents filed in this case and statements made in court, Sokalsky agreed to authorize prescriptions for former pharmaceutical sales representative Matthew Tedesco, 47, of Linwood, who pleaded guilty to health care fraud conspiracy in June 2017, and others working with Tedesco.
In exchange for authorizing prescriptions for compounded medications that provided thousands of dollars in reimbursements each month, Tedesco referred approximately 30 patients to Sokalsky’s new medical practice. Sokalsky, in turn, billed insurance for patient visits for those people steered to his practice by Tedesco. Sokalsky also authorized prescriptions for the medications for existing patients of his practice, which he did to financially benefit Tedesco and encourage him to refer more patients to his new practice. Sokalsky authorized medically unnecessary medications, including libido creams for young females and excessive quantities of the medications with the maximum number of refills selected.
When insurance stopped covering certain formulations of the medications, Tedesco informed Sokalsky that he needed to authorize new prescriptions. Sokalsky did so, often without seeing the individual for a follow-up visit or informing the person of the change in medication. In total, insurance paid more than $5 million for fraudulent prescriptions authorized by Sokalsky.
Sokalsky faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 22.
sokalsky.sinformation.pdf (169 KB)