Leonel Palatnik, 42, co-owner of Dallas-based Panda Conservation Group, a medical lab company, pleaded guilty Aug. 31 for his role in a $73 million Medicare kickback conspiracy, according to a Justice Department news release. Mr. Palatnik paid kickbacks to a telehealth company in exchange for orders for medically unnecessary genetic testing.
The scheme exploited temporary amendments to telehealth restrictions enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic that were intended to ensure access to care for Medicare beneficiaries.
Mr. Palatnik pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to offer kickbacks and one count of paying a kickback. He is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 9 and faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.