West New York Mayor Felix Roque was indicted by the state Attorney General’s Office 15 months ago for allegedly accepting $250,000 in a bribery and kickback scheme, but a trial date is still nowhere in sight as a pre-trial conference has been postponed.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Roque was scheduled to appear in front of Bergen County Superior Court Judge Christopher Kazlau on Tuesday, September 6 for a pre-trial conference, but that was postponed until October 3, a clerk from Kazlau’s chambers confirmed with Hudson County View yesterday.
The retired U.S. Army colonel has not had many court appearances relating to his latest indictment (he beat federal hacking charges in October 2013) first pleading not guilty to the charges in July 2015.
His attorneys, Christopher Adams and John MacDonald – the latter who previously represented the mayor – filed a motion to dismiss in February.
Roque’s team had some success when the motion was finally heard in July, where two of the three charges – second degree health care claims fraud and a third degree runners charge – were tossed by the judge.
However, Roque must still answer a second degree commercial bribery charge.
Specifically, the pain management specialist 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.
Adams has previously dismissed the indictment as “ridiculously false charges” that “rests entirely on the word of a convicted liar and cheat.”
As it stands today, Roque’s case will likely not involve more than a handful of witnesses, with the government expected to lean heavily on the testimony of Zuberi and Anthony Correll, a detective for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Medicaid Fraud Control Unit – the main investigator in the case.