Tennessee lab CEO charged in $86M Medicare telefraud scheme 

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The owner and CEO of a Tennessee lab testing company is facing charges alleging that he orchestrated a scheme resulting in $86 million in fraudulent Medicare claims, the U.S. Justice Department said July 6. 

As the owner of Spring Hill, Tenn.-based Crestar Labs, Fadel Alshalabi, 53, allegedly engaged in a scheme starting in 2016 to pay illegal kickbacks to marketers in exchange for soliciting genetic tests from Medicare beneficiaries. He has been charged with aiding and abetting and violations of the anti-kickback statute. 

The Justice Department claims Mr. Alshalabi contracted with marketing companies to target and recruit elderly patients who were federal healthcare program beneficiaries to get their genetic materials for conducting lab tests. The marketers, who were not healthcare professionals, then allegedly took swabs from the mouths of patients at nursing homes and senior health fairs, among other locations, and sent the tests to telemedicine physicians, who did not participate in the treatment of the patients, the complaint states. 

Most patients or their treating physicians never received the results of the tests, for which Mr. Alshalabi allegedly paid illegal kickbacks and bribes and without any regard for medical necessity, the Justice Department said. 

From late 2017 to now, Crestar billed Medicare approximately $86 million for genetic testing and was paid almost $14 million for the claims, according to the news release. In addition to Crestar, Mr. Alshalabi owned associated labs in other locations including Baltimore-based Karemore Labs and Martis Labs and CrestarDX in Dallas.

 

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