FBI raids COVID-19 test company that collected $124M while trashing tests

The FBI on Jan. 22 raided the headquarters of a nationwide string of COVID-19 testing sites known as the Center for COVID Control, USA Today reported Jan. 23.

The company and its main lab, Doctors Clinical Lab, both based in Chicago, have been reimbursed more than $124 million from the federal government for COVID-19 testing, as well as an undisclosed amount from private insurers. They are under investigation by federal officials and officials from multiple states, the report said.

A consumer protection lawsuit filed by the Minnesota Attorney General's Office alleges the company and lab "provide inaccurate and deceptive" test results, fraudulently reported negative test results, and fraudulently reported consumers as uninsured. At its peak, the company said it spanned more than 300 locations across at least 26 states and collected more than 80,000 tests a day.

The company's owners, married couple Akbar Syed and Aleya Siyaj, have shared photos and videos on social media of their growing wealth. Mr. Syed has shared images of two Lamborghinis, a 2018 Ford GT, a Ferrari Enzo and a new $1.36 million mansion, the report said.

Former employees said the company was unable to handle the load of COVID-19 tests it took on, leading to workers leaving tests in garbage bags, unrefrigerated, around the office and lying to customers about their results, Block Club Chicago reported Jan. 20.

The company said it would temporarily close for one week to retrain staff and shore up compliance with regulatory guidelines, Block Club said. A company spokesperson denied the former employees' allegations.

"Of the issues cited by former employees, [the Center for COVID Control] issues no such policy directives to employees and finds these practices unacceptable, of course," spokesperson Russ Keene told Block Club in an emailed statement. 

Former employees said the company didn't require workers to wear masks or gloves and that workers and supervisors shared photos of customers' personal information through WhatsApp, according to the Block Club report.

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