Lab owner sentenced to 82 months in prison for Medicare kickback scheme

Leonel Palatnik, 42, co-owner of Dallas-based Panda Conservation Group, a medical lab company, was sentenced to 82 months in prison for his role in a $73 million Medicare kickback scheme, according to a Nov. 9 Justice Department news release.

Mr. Palatnik pleaded guilty Aug. 31 to paying kickbacks to a telehealth company in exchange for orders for medically unnecessary genetic testing. The scheme exploited temporary amendments to telehealth restrictions enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic that were intended to ensure access to care for Medicare beneficiaries.

Michael Stein, the owner of the company that allegedly arranged authorization of the tests, is awaiting trial.

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