A local chiropractor funneled money from his Lakewood practice to Russia, where his family members now live, the man admitted in court today.
Carlo Amato, the former owner of Chiropractic Care Consultants and Accident Recovery Physical Therapy in Lakewood, admitted to overbilling several insurance companies between Jan. 2013 and Dec. 2016,then using trust accounts set up in the names of his minor children to funnel the illegal proceeds to accounts in Russia where his wife and children now reside. In total, Amato wired over $1.5 million to personal accounts overseas, prosecutors said.
Additionally, while out on bail for what was – at the time – alleged fraud offenses, Amato was re-arrested for defrauding the State of New Jersey and Prudential Insurance Company out of approximately $116,000 in disability benefits. This theft occurred between Nov. 2013 and May 2015, when Amato, while still working as a chiropractor at his Lakewood business, applied for and received disability funds for injuries that he alleged prevented him from working.
As a result of the new offenses, said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, a search warrant was conducted on Amato’s Beachwood residence in Dec. 2017. At that time, officers recovered $182,515 in cash hidden in a wall as well as various forms of fraudulent identification. Additionally, law enforcement recovered hand-written plans on how to flee the country without detection from authorities.
Amato pleaded guilty to first-degree money laundering and second-degree theft by deception before the Superior Court Judge Michael T. Collins. As a result of the plea, Amato will face a sentence of up to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison with a five year parole disqualifier on the money laundering charge, consecutive to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison on the theft charge.
Amato’s arrest and, ultimately, his guilty plea, was the result of a joint investigation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the OCPO Special Investigations Unit. FBI Special Agent Christine Parr and Detective John LaRaia of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office led the investigation. They were assisted by Agent Katerina Huxel.