Spring Hill lab owner, 7 others indicted in Medicare billing scheme
SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WSMV) - An owner of a Spring Hill laboratory, along with seven others, have now been indicted in a fraudulent Medicare and Medicaid billing scheme related to genetic testing.
A federal grand jury in Nashville on Monday returned a 40-count second superseding indictment, charging eight people with the fraud conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Mark H. Wildasin for the Middle District of Tennessee on Tuesday.
Fadel Alshalabi, 54, of Waxhaw, North Carolina, was originally charged in July 2021, with conspiracy and violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute for his role in the scheme, a U.S. Justice Department media release said. Alshalabi is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of a series of laboratories based in Spring Hill, Tennessee, called Crestar Labs, LLC (Crestar). Monday’s second superseding indictment charges Alshalabi and seven others with health care fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud, and conspiracy to violate and violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, according to the release. Alshalabi is also charged with money laundering.
Monday’s indictment alleges the co-conspirators entered into sham contracts and paid kickbacks in exchange for genetic testing and urine analysis samples, the media release said.
“This included targeting and recruiting elderly patients who were federal health care program beneficiaries in order to obtain their genetic material for conducting genetic tests. Marketers, who were not health care professionals, obtained swabs from the mouths of the patients at nursing homes, senior health fairs, and elsewhere,” according to the release. “The tests were then purportedly approved by telemedicine doctors who did not engage in the treatment of the patients, and often did not even speak with the patients for whom they ordered tests.
“Frequently, the patients or their treating physicians never received the results of the tests. Alshalabi and the co-conspirators paid illegal kickbacks and bribes in exchange for the doctor’s orders and tests, without regard to medical necessity, according to prosecutors.”
During the period of 2016 to July 2021, Alshalabi and his co-conspirators billed Medicare and Medicaid over $150 million, according to prosecutors.
The release says others charged in the second superseding indictment are Edward D. Klapp, 63, of Jupiter, Florida, the former Vice President of Sales for Crestar; Melissa L. Chastain, 57, of Belton, South Carolina, the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Genetix LLC, a marketing company that contracted with Crestar; Roger Allison, 64, of Greenville, South Carolina, the President of Genetix; Dakota White, 28, of Easley, South Carolina, the former Director of Client Services and Vice President of Operations for Crestar; Robert Alan Richardson, 53, of Silver Spring, Maryland, a principal of Freedom Medical Labs, LLC, a marketing company that contracted with Crestar; Edward Burch, 53 of Rockville, Maryland, also a principal of Freedom Medical Labs, LLC; and Samuel Harris, 27, of Salt Lake City, Utah, the owner of Secure Health, also a marketing company that contracted with Crestar. Edward Klapp and Lisa Chastain were originally charged in a first superseding indictment in October 2021.
If convicted, Alshalabi faces up to 10 years on the money laundering charges, and all defendants face up to 10 years in prison on the health care fraud and Anti-Kickback Statute charges, and up to 5 years on the charge of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute.
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