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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
April 15, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division Of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director
Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor
- Greta Gooden Brown, Insurance Fraud Prosecutor


John R. Hagerty


Passaic County Electrologist Found Guilty of Charges Related to $900,000 Insurance Fraud

TRENTON - Attorney General Peter C. Harvey announced that a Passaic County electrologist has been convicted on charges of attempting to bilk New Jersey insurance companies out of more than $900,000 in reimbursement payments by billing common electrolysis as a medically necessary cosmetic procedure - a procedure the electrologist was unable to perform.

According to Vaughn L. McKoy, Director, Division of Criminal Justice and Insurance Fraud Prosecutor Greta Gooden-Brown, Florence Acquaire, 63, Pike Drive, Wayne, was convicted on April 14 by Passaic County Superior Court Judge Randolph M. Subryan following a 10-day bench trial. Acquaire operated the High Mountain Medical Center, 342 Hamburg Pike in Wayne. Acquaire was convicted of Health Care Claims Fraud, theft by deception, and attempted theft by deception. Acquaire could be sentenced to more than ten years in state prison, fined over $150,000, and ordered to pay civil insurance fraud fines pursuant to the civil Insurance Fraud Prevention Act. Sentencing is scheduled for June 24.

In finding Acquaire guilty, Judge Subryan determined that from July 25, 1998 through April 12, 2001, Acquaire submitted dozens of fraudulent health insurance claims seeking more than $908,843 in reimbursement payments from the United Health Group Insurance Company and the Aetna Insurance Company. The Aetna Insurance Company was billed $843,797, while United Health Group Insurance Company was billed $38,120. A six-count State Grand Jury indictment returned on Oct. 30, 2003, alleged that Acquaire fraudulently billed electrolysis as a surgical debridement procedure - a medically necessary procedure which involves the surgical excision of dead skin and which must be performed by a doctor or other licensed medical service provider. Acquaire is not a licensed medical service provider and was, therefore, not qualified to perform debridement or other surgical procedures and was ineligible to bill insurance companies the higher cost of the surgical procedure.

The investigation and prosecution was conducted by the Division of Criminal Justice - Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor which investigates and prosecutes civil and criminal insurance fraud cases. State Investigators Joseph Luccarelli, Ronald Williams and Christina Fiscella, along with Civil Investigators George Douglas and Andre Mitchell conduced the investigation. Deputy Attorney’s General Jacqueline D. Smith and Richard Queen coordinated the prosecution. Also assisting in the investigation were Christopher Trovato of the Special Investigations Unit of Aetna Insurance Company, John Rowe, an Investigator for United Health Group Insurance Company, and Lucy P. Brown of the Oxford Insurance Company.

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