The proprietor of a Florida laboratory has pleaded responsible to a $7 million Medicare fraud scheme during which he paid kickbacks to brokers for telemedicine corporations and medical doctors to prescribe costly however pointless genetic testing together with low-cost COVID-19 assessments for hundreds of sufferers.
Christopher Licata, 45, of Delray Seaside, Florida, admitted that his lab, Boca Toxicology LLC, pushed costly and medically-unnecessary respiratory and genetic testing for cardiovascular illnesses, most cancers, diabetes, weight problems, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia on sufferers looking for to easily discover out if they’d contracted coronavirus.
Federal prosecutors say Licata started the scheme in 2018 in a unique type, however kicked it into excessive gear when the coronavirus pandemic struck and continued submitting fraudulent claims into 2021.
“‘As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic started, Licata exploited sufferers’ concern of COVID-19 by bundling COVID-19 assessments with dearer, medically pointless testing.’”
“As soon as the COVID-19 pandemic started, Licata exploited sufferers’ concern of COVID-19 by bundling COVID-19 assessments with dearer, medically pointless testing,” prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors say the extra testing yielded far increased payouts from Medicare than the low-priced COVID-19 assessments. In all, they are saying Boca Toxicology submitted $6.9 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare, receiving practically $3 million in funds.
A message left with Licata’s legal professional wasn’t instantly returned.
In accordance with courtroom paperwork, Licata paid 10% of what he acquired to a community of brokers who labored with medical doctors’ workplaces to refer Medicare sufferers and the pointless testing to his lab. In lots of instances, the referrals got here from telemedicine firms the place medical doctors allegedly signed orders for assessments for sufferers they’d by no means seen, prosecutors stated.
Licata pleaded responsible in federal courtroom in Florida to 1 rely of conspiring to commit health-care fraud. He faces as much as 10 years in jail when he’s scheduled on March 24.