A Lakewood chiropractor has been charged with fraudulently filing health insurance claims following a multi-agency investigation into insurance fraud at his office.
Carlo Amato, 55, of Beachwood, was arrested Wednesday and faces four counts of health care claims fraud and one count of illegally possessing the painkiller fentanyl.
The investigation centered around Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, claims, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. Few additional details on the nature of the allegations were divulged in a press release issued by the office on Friday. Amato’s office is located on River Avenue in Lakewood.
The arrest was the culmination of an investigation by the prosecutor’s office, Ocean County Sheriff’s Department as well as the FBI and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. The charges are the result of an undercover operation begun in early fall of 2015, which culminated Wednesday with the execution of a court-authorized search warrant of Amato’s residence, chiropractic office, 2017 Audi Q7 and 2014 Porsche Panamera automobiles, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office.
Amato was housed in the Ocean County Jail in lieu of bail set at $200,000 cash. Further conditions of his bail mandate he is not allowed to practice chiropractic medicine due to his possession of fentanyl and must surrender his passport.
“The investigation continues and the criminal case will be prosecuted by Ocean County Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Martin Anton,” said Della Fave. “A Civil Forfeiture complaint and other legal documents were filed by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office seeking all assets obtained as a result of the alleged illegal acts.”
Patients who believe their insurance carrier was overbilled for services Amato did not perform, are being asked to contact Detective John LaRaia at 732-929-2027.
In 2009, Amato was involved in a high-profile drug possession case and was ultimately exonerated after it was found that a man who had entered into a relationship with his girlfriend planted the drugs on the undercarriage of his vehicle, then called police with a tip that Amato was transporting the substances. The man, Michael Cortese, of Bay Head, was later charged in the incident and sentenced to a year in jail. He later lost a multi million-dollar civil lawsuit filed by Amato.