Judge dismisses 2 of 3 counts in Roque case, but bribery charge remains

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A Bergen County Superior Court judge dismissed two charges in West New York Mayor Felix Roque’s case alleging he took over $250,000 in kickbacks, but the commercial bribery charge still stands.

[fve]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2tw5iOgwWs&feature=youtu.be[/fve]

Roque was indicted by the state Attorney General’s Office back on June 9, 2015  alleging that he participated in a $250,000 bribery and kickback scheme between 2007 and 2012.

The North Hudson mayor pleaded not guilty the following month and then in February of this year his attorneys, Christopher Adams and John MacDonald – the latter who also represented him in his 2013 federal hacking trial where he was acquitted of all charges – filed a motion to dismiss.

That motion was finally heard in front of Bergen County Superior Court Judge Christopher Kazlau on Friday.

Specifically, Roque is accused of participating in a scheme to refer patients needing MRI and CT scans to medical diagnostic imaging centers controlled by Rehan Zuberi in exchange for cash and election campaign contributions.

Zuberi previously pleaded guilty to charges that he led a criminal enterprise that paid several million dollars of bribes and kickbacks to dozens of doctors from 2008 to 2014.

After providing a detailed summation of the case, which alleges Roque received $100 each time he referred patients to one of Zuberi’s North Jersey medical imaging centers, Kazlau ruled on each motion in front of the court.

Count 1, second degree health care claims fraud, was dismissed “because it fails to provide health care claims fraud with sufficient specificity.”

Kazlau noted that “the indictment does not identify which insurance companies received false claims, which patients insurance claims were false, which provisions of the insurance agreement were violated or what language in the insurance contracts required the defendant’s disclosure of the received kickbacks from a provider in company-related transactions.”

Count 3, a third degree runners charge, was thrown out since there was no proof that Roque made “any medically unnecessary referrals” to Zubheri’s medical imaging facility.

On Count 2, a second degree commercial bribery charge, Kazlau pointed to sworn testimony from Anthony Correll, a detective for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, to indicate that there is enough evidence for the charge to stand.

According to more sworn testimony from Correll, Zuberi did not want to deliver the kickbacks directly because he did not want to be involved in something illegal.

After Raza Chudry, who previously served jail time for healthcare fraud, removed himself from the operation, Jose Lopez, a driver for Zuberi’s imaging facility allegedly took over as the middleman.

Lopez used to be a driver for a medical transportation company and worked with Roque years ago. However, Correll also testified that after about three months, Zuberi began delivering the kickbacks to Roque himself.

The state’s motion that asked to have Lopez testify in the case was also denied, as was a motion by Roque’s team to dismiss the case for a lack of due process.

After Adams stressed Roque’s desire to move forward with the trial as quickly as possible, both sides agreed on September 6 as the date for the mayor’s pre-trial conference.

Afterwards, Roque briefly gave his thoughts on the matter to Hudson County View – the only media outlet in attendance at the hearing.

6 COMMENTS

  1. The issues the taxpayers in WNY have with Roque are the decisions he makes as Mayor on a daily basis. Anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty but once you are proven guilty or plead guilty to a crime it’s a different story. Roque has cost the taxpayers millions because of the Political terminations in town . A total disregard for the outcome on taxpayers and employees . They were innocent but terminated anyway and got their jobs with monetary settlements. If he is found not guilty maybe this is payback and he can know the feeling of all the people he hurt since he became Mayor

  2. If the prosecutor needs witnesses, all they would need to do is question the many pissed off town employees who are former patients of the doctor where they were FORCED to go for their MRIs.

    Case closed.

    • so again charges dropped. how nice , maybe now hell see what good luck he has and will start to respect the town along with the hard working people that live here. God help us all.

  3. Wishful thinking, lola. If he gets off again, he will only get more arrogant and cocky.

    But we only need to wait – he will screw up again because he can’t help it. A lowlife is a lowlife.

    Even the feds eventually got John Gotti, the Teflon Don.

  4. The moron doesn’t once mention the people of WNY, the tens of thousands of people he lets down and leaves out in the cold, EVERY DAY.

    He is more concerned with bringing more people to this country who will wind up in WNY in your housing developments, crowding your schools, taking your jobs while the unsuspecting immigrants become forever indebted to their savior. This isn’t about immigration. This is about a moron trying to make it appear he is good when we all know he is evil. How he is continually allowed to travel outside of the country…. Is a travesty. Unless ofcourse, he has been wired up all along. Just a thought.

    He won’t be so lucky as he was his first go around and he feels it. He answers questions that The reporter never asked and he is visibly nervous. He calls his accuser a liar and then quickly say he holds no grudges. He speaks of military and police attacks with the hopes that the public and the judge find compassion for him.

    He is a liar and he is guilty and those of you who are blind to those facts are just as dillusional as he is.

  5. The problem for the Mayor is not only the bribery charge but if he is found guilty the IRS will be coming after him for income tax evasion for not paying taxes on all the bribe money he took.

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