Seven Floridians including four doctors are among 35 people arrested Friday by the FBI for alleged involvement in a $2.1 billion fraud that charged Medicare for false cancer genomic tests (CGx tests).
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the alleged fraud was perpetrated by defendants in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas and exploited seniors’ curiosity about genetic medicine by enticing them to get unneeded DNA tests.
Dubbed “Operation Double Helix,” the crackdown targeted telemedicine companies, nine doctors and numerous labs following a joint investigation by the DOJ, the FBI, the U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) Inspector’s General Office and U.S. attorneys’ offices.
The DOJ said the alleged scheme involved a telemarketer or in-person “recruiter” who would persuade a Medicare enrollee to take a genetic test, assuring them the program would pay full cost.
A doctor “in league with the fraudsters” would then approve the test and collect a kickback from the “recruiter,” the indictment reads.
A lab would run the test, bill Medicare, and share payments with the “recruiter,” according to the DOJ.