A former Lakewood chiropractor faces up to a decade in a state prison after pleading guilty to charges of first-degree Money Laundering and second-degree Theft by Deception.

Ocean County Prosecutors say Carlo Amato would use trust fund accounts set up in his young children's names to funnel $1,500,000.00 in illegal proceeds to personal accounts in Russia where his wife and kids now live.

The former owner of Chiropractic Care Consultants and Accident Recovery Physical Therapy in Lakewood, also admitted to over-billing several insurance companies between January 2013 and December 2016.

While out on bail for the laundering offense, Amato was placed in handcuffs for collecting disability funds for injuries he alleged prevented him from working.

He second arrest was for allegedly defrauding the State of New Jersey and Prudential Insurance Company out of about $116,000.00 in disability benefits he accrued between November of 2013 and May of 2015.

This is what led investigators to Amato's home in Beachwood in December of 2017 along with a search warrant.

Inside the home and inside a wall, investigators found $182,515.00 in cash along with some phony I-D's and hand-written plans on how to flee the country without detection from authorities.

His sentence of up to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison comes with a 5 year parole disqualifier on the money laundering charge, consecutive to 5 years in New Jersey State Prison on the theft charge.

The guilty plea is 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.

Thomas Ashley, Esq. and Alan Zegas, Esq. represented Mr. Amato. Senior Assistant Prosecutor Jill O'Malley represented the State.

Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Martin Anton, who retired in December of 2017, had previously represented the State.

The public is reminded that criminal charges are merely accusations and that the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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