West New York mayor pleads not guilty to bribery charges related to his medical practice

IndustriesAssociated Press

A doctor who serves as mayor of a northern New Jersey town pleaded not guilty Monday to charges that he took cash bribes and other kickbacks for referring patients to a medical imaging company.

West New York Mayor Felix Roque, 59, operates the Pain Relief Center medical practice. The attorney general's office alleges that between 2007 and 2012, Roque referred patients to medical imaging centers controlled by Rehan Zuberi in exchange for cash and campaign contributions.

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Prosecutors say Roque received about $250,000 from the scheme. He could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted on all of the counts. He was acquitted in October 2013 of charges that he illegally gained access to computers of political foes.

Zuberi pleaded guilty last month to running a criminal enterprise that paid millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks to dozens of doctors.

The 46-year-old Boonton resident was sentenced to 10 years in prison and won't be eligible for parole for four years.

Roque was charged in 2012 along with his son, Joseph, with illegally gaining access to computers of political foes who had set up a website urging the mayor be recalled. Roque was acquitted in federal court, but his son was convicted and sentenced to probation and community service.