Feds charge Georgia man with orchestrating COVID-19 billing fraud scheme

Federal prosecutors have charged a Georgia man for allegedly conspiring to defraud Medicare and private healthcare benefit programs by submitting fraudulent claims for COVID-19 testing and genetic cancer screenings, according to the Department of Justice.

Erik Santos was arrested March 30 and charged with one count of conspiring to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and one count of conspiring to commit healthcare fraud. 

From November 2019 until his arrest, Mr. Santos and others allegedly defrauded healthcare benefit programs by soliciting and receiving kickbacks from companies involved in clinical and diagnostic testing. Mr. Santos, who used his marketing company to generate leads for testing companies, was allegedly paid kickbacks on a per-test basis for submitting genetic cancer screening tests and COVID-19 tests.

Prosecutors said during a call on March 19, Mr. Santos said he intended to use the COVID-19 pandemic to make money. 

"[While] there are people going through what they are going through, you can either go bankrupt or you can prosper," Mr. Santos said on the call, according to prosecutors. 

During the same call, prosecutors said Mr. Santos noted his other work would be on hold because "everybody has been chasing the Covid dollar bird." 

Mr. Santos faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute. 

More articles on legal and regulatory issues:
UConn Health physician arrested, accused of intentionally coughing on nurses
Anthem hit with federal lawsuit alleging Medicare fraud
Former employees plan to sue West Virginia hospital over unpaid wages

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars