Mark Gertner. COURTESY OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

By ERIN ROLL
roll@montclairlocal.news

A Montclair attorney has pleaded guilty to charges related to his alleged role in a $4 million medical insurance fraud ring.

Mark Gertner pleaded guilty to third-degree third-degree criminal running, according to an announcement from Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino’s office.

Gertner was the attorney who paid for referrals to South Orange Trauma and Rehab Center (SOTC), a now-shuttered medical and chiropractic center that authorities say was used as a front to defraud insurance companies. He is awaiting sentencing at this time.

Philip Potacco, a former chiropractor who was the owner of SOTC, pleaded guilty to money laundering and official conduct in the second degree, and to third-degree practicing chiropractic medicine without a license.

The state alleges that Potacco used illegal “runners” to bring accident patients to SOTC, including those who had staged their crashes, and then submitted insurance claims for those patients. The money from the claims was laundered through a shell company over a five year period, and Potacco would use the shell company’s account for his own personal use.

“Despite being stripped of his chiropractic license, Philip Potacco ran a medical practice that served as a front to steal millions of dollars from numerous insurance companies,” Porrino said in the statement released on Thursday. “The lengthy prison sentence he is now facing will serve as just punishment for his brazen disregard for the law in masterminding this elaborate criminal enterprise.”

“It is especially disturbing that professionals in good standing agreed to join the defendant in a conspiracy to corrupt and victimize the healthcare insurance system,” Acting Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Christopher Iu said. “As the participatns in this criminal scheme have learned, we will hold everyone accountable for the part they play in facilitating insurance fraud.”