The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) recently charged 14 people for engaging in alleged healthcare fraud schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in more than $143 million in false billings. The charges implicate a telemedicine company executive, physician, marketers, and medical business owners.
The defendants allegedly engaged in various health care fraud schemes in an attempt to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. Some defendants offered COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries at senior living facilities, drive-through COVID-19 testing sites, and medical offices to get the beneficiaries to provide their personal identifying information and a saliva/blood sample. Those defendants then allegedly misused the information and samples to submit claims to Medicare for unrelated, medically unnecessary, and much more expensive laboratory tests (including cancer genetic testing, allergy testing, and respiratory pathogen panel tests). In some cases, the COVID-19 test results were either not provided in a timely manner or were not reliable. The proceeds of the scheme were allegedly laundered through shell corporations and used to buy exotic cars and luxury real estate.