Woodbridge, NJ trio, 2 NJ Transit conductors, busted for scam
Two NJ Transit conductors have been accused of running an $880,000 insurance fraud scheme that prosecutors say also involved a other staffers at the public transit agency.
David A. Rasmussen, 55, and Raymond Giovanne, 33, both of Woodbridge, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and one count of theft by deception, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens said.
Rasmussen has been a member of the NJ Transit board as a union-recommended delegate.
He and Giovannone both have been removed from service and suspended without pay until further notice.
Suzanne Rasmussen, 52, wife of David Rasmussen, also has been charged with the same offenses, according to the prosecutor.
The Rasmussens were arrested at their home, while Giovanne was arrested at NJ Transit headquarters in Newark.
Giovanne is the Rasmussens’ nephew, from Suzanne Rasmussen’s side of the family.
All three are accused of running a “pyramid style prescription scam” targeting NJ State Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which provides health insurance coverage to state employees.
The scheme ran from January 2016 until February 2017, as Stephens said the trio used real employees to get doctors to write unnecessary prescriptions for compounded medications, such as pain creams and scar creams, following a telemedicine visit.
Suzanne Rasmussen recruited ten NJ Transit employees for the scam, according to prosecutors, resulting in $889,857 being paid by the health care insurance carrier.
The Rasmussens and Giovanne are scheduled to make their first court appearance on Aug. 27.
"NJ TRANSIT is working in coordination with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and defers all questions about the investigation to the Prosecutor’s Office," an agency spokesperson said in response to New Jersey 101.5 on Thursday.
NJ Transit was contacted by BCBS and the FBI, as the case is part of a larger criminal operation involving other people who faced federal charges through the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Earlier this month, 55-year-old Christopher Cuffari, of Little Falls, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court to conspiracy to commit health care fraud.
Cuffari, a former sales representative for several compounding pharmacies and marketing companies, admitted his role in a scheme to defraud public and private health benefits programs of $7.89 million for the billing of medically unnecessary compounded prescriptions, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig announced.
It was not immediately clear as of Thursday afternoon if Cuffari's case was connected to the same, larger operation as Giovanne and the Rasmussens.