The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced that it will move forward with criminal charges against two Texas business owners. The diagnostic laboratory owners claim to own multiple locations throughout the state. The feds argue that the business owners made up the businesses and used these fake labs to file multiple fraudulent claims for over $7 million in payment for COVID-19 testing services.
What are the allegations?
The DOJ claims one of the business owners also served as a contract lab technician and used this position to gather patient information. He would then allegedly file false claims using this patient information.
The government states the labs listed in the claim do not exist and that the labs never performed the tests as claimed.
What type of criminal charges are possible in these situations?
Based on this information, the government charged each of these business owners with:
- Healthcare fraud. Each business owner faces ten counts of healthcare fraud. Just one conviction for healthcare fraud can come with up to 10 years imprisonment.
- Conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud. This also comes with 10 years imprisonment. The feds charged each with one count.
- Conspiracy to commit money laundering. The government charged each with one charge, which can come with ten years imprisonment.
- Aggravated identity theft. This can come with up to two years imprisonment and each face seven counts.
If the government can build a successful case, each business owner faces decades of potential imprisonment.
How can lab owners and providers avoid these types of allegations?
The importance of good records and due diligence when completing paperwork cannot be understated. It is also helpful to conduct regular internal audits to catch and correct any errors in record keeping. A failure to back up a claim can lead to serious criminal penalties including potential imprisonment.
Attorney John Rivas is responsible for this communication