The trial of the CEO of LifeBrite is scheduled to start Monday morning in federal court in Florida.
Christian Fletcher, 34, is one of ten defendants charged for their participation in an elaborate pass-through billing scheme using rural hospitals in several states as billing shells to submit fraudulent claims for laboratory testing.
LifeBrite, headquartered in Lilburn, Georgia, operates LifeBrite Community Hospital of Stokes in Danbury, LifeBrite Community Hospital of Early in Blakely, Georgia, and LifeBrite Laboratories.
The case is assigned to Judge Timothy J. Corrigan, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Jacksonville.
The indictment alleges that from November 2015 through February 2018, the conspirators billed private insurance companies approximately $1.4 billion for laboratory testing claims as part of the scheme, and were paid approximately $400 million.
It alleges that the conspirators would take over small, rural hospitals, often in financial trouble, using management companies they owned and operated. The conspirators would then bill private insurance companies through those rural hospitals for millions of dollars of expensive urinalysis drug tests and blood tests, conducted mostly at outside laboratories they often controlled or were affiliated with, using billing companies that they also controlled. While outside laboratories did most of these laboratory tests, the conspirators allegedly billed private insurance companies as if these laboratory tests were done at the rural hospitals.
In addition, the indictment alleges that the lab tests were often not even medically necessary. The indictment also alleges that the conspirators engaged in sophisticated money laundering to promote the scheme and to distribute the fraudulent proceeds.