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Local Chiropractor Gets 15 Years in Jail for Money Laundering

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Carlo Amato (Photo: OCPO)
Carlo Amato (Photo: OCPO)

A chiropractor from Beachwood who maintained an office in Lakewood will spend 15 years behind bars after pleading guilty to money laundering by overbilling insurance companies.

Carlo Amato, 57, received his sentence May 9 from Superior Court Judge Michael T. Collins.

Amato, the former owner of Chiropractic Care Consultants and Accident Recovery Physical Therapy in Lakewood, admitted to overbilling several insurance companies from January 2013 to December 2016. Amato also admitted that he used trust accounts set up in his minor children’s names to funnel the illegal proceeds to Russia. During this period of time, Amato wired over $1.5 million dollars overseas. For that offense Collins sentenced Amato to ten years in New Jersey State Prison with a five year period of parole ineligibility.

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Additionally, while out on bail on the initial first degree money laundering charge, Amato was re-arrested for defrauding the State of New Jersey and the Prudential Insurance Company out of approximately $116,000.00 in disability benefits. This theft, prosecutors said, occurred between November 2013 and May 2015 when Amato, while still working at his chiropractic office, applied for and received disability funds for injuries he alleged kept him from working.

After learning of the new offense, authorities executed a search warrant on Amato’s residence in Beachwood in Dec. 2017. At that time, detectives recovered approximately $182,000.00 in cash hidden in a wall as well as “various forms of fraudulent identification,” according to a statement.

On April 9, 2018, Amato pled guilty to a Second Degree charge of theft by deception for defrauding the state and the Prudential Insurance Company.

The sentences are to run consecutively, meaning Amato must serve both, one after the other.

“Amato’s pattern of criminal behavior occurred over a number of years,” said Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer. “Our detectives, assistant prosecutors and federal partners did an amazing job of putting all the pieces together in this case.”

Billhimer praised the efforts of the joint investigation between the FBI and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Investigations Unit. The primary investigation was headed by Special Agent Christine Parr of the FBI and Detective John LaRaia and Agent Katerina Huxel of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. In addition, the National Insurance Crime Bureau provided support during the initial stages of the investigation.