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South Jersey Man Sentenced To 3 Years Federal Prison For Role In Massive Insurance Fraud Scheme Targeting People Battling Drug Addiction

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A South Jersey man who admitted to profiting off the addiction of others will be headed to federal prison for his role in a massive insurance fraud scheme. Jason Gerner, of Burlington County, wore a mask inside the federal courthouse in Center City Monday morning and apologized for exploiting people battling drug addiction all to line his own pockets.

Forty-seven-year-old Gerner told a judge greed got in his way while running what turned out to be a phony substance abuse clinic called Liberation Way. The clinic had locations in Yardley, Bucks County and Bala Cynwyd and Fort Washington in Montgomery County.

"Greed became the motivating force," Assistance U.S. Attorney Nancy Winter said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Winter says clients of Liberation Way were battling drug addiction, but sometimes received care that was "substandard or even medically unnecessary."

For instance, unnecessary urine tests would be done over and over again as part of a kickback scheme with a Florida lab.

"As a direct consequence of this kind of fraud, insurance companies have now changed the way they're now compensating for patient coverage," Winter said. "They've now set a line that they'll only pay for so many urine tests."

In all prosecutors say, Liberation Way profited by more than $9 million by over-billing insurance companies between 2015 and 2018.

"These scams are money out of your pocket," Coalition Against Insurance Fraud representative James Quiggle said. "The cost of insurance fraud is passed onto all policyholders. That's your groceries that your mortgage, that's your kid's tuition. We all pay for insurance fraud."

Jason Gerner pleaded guilty in August 2019 to charges of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He will spend three years in federal prison. He is also ordered to pay restitution.

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