$214M COVID-19 test fraud: California lab owners indicted

Imran Shams and Lourdes Navarro, both 63 and owners of Baldwin Park, Calif.-based Matias Clinical Laboratory, were indicted for their alleged roles in a $214 million Medicare fraud scheme, the Justice Department said.

The married couple allegedly paid kickbacks to marketers for specimens and test orders, the department said in April, before laundering their profits through shell companies and the purchase of real estate, luxury items and personal goods and services.

They submitted medically unnecessary COVID-19 tests and other respiratory pathogen tests to CMS for reimbursement, the department said. Mr. Shams had been excluded from all participation in Medicare since he and Ms. Navarro were convicted in 2000 on felony counts of Medi-Cal fraud, grand theft, money laundering and identity theft, according to court documents.

The couple concealed Mr. Shams's role in the lab and his prior convictions, the department said.


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