Friday, April 28, 2017

Florida eye doc's conviction could hurt Menendez

Dr. Salomon Melgen - Photo by Lannis Watters, AP
Herb Jackson reports for The Record:

A Florida jury convicted eye doctor Salomon Melgen of Medicare fraud on Friday, increasing the pressure he may face to testify against Sen. Bob Menendez in September when the two go on trial in New Jersey on corruption charges.

“By having two separate trials, it raises the stakes for Dr. Melgen and gives the government enormous additional leverage,” said Robert Mintz, a former federal and state prosecutor who chairs the white collar criminal defense section at McCarter & English in Newark.

“Rather than being able to roll the dice on the question of whether to go to trial or cooperate – assuming he has information the government would be interested in – he knows with certainty he’s going to jail and the only way to reduce his sentence would be to cooperate,” Mintz said.

An April 2015 indictment handed up by a Newark grand jury accused Melgen of providing contributions to political committees and luxury travel, including flights on his private jet and vacations at his home in a Dominican Republic resort, as bribes to get Menendez to take official actions to benefit Melgen financially. One charge accuses Menendez of pressuring Medicare officials about a regulation at the heart of a $9 million billing dispute Melgen had with the government.


Both Menendez and Melgen have pleaded not guilty to the charges in Newark.

Read the full story here

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