U.S. federal agents raided genetic testing laboratories and 35 people were criminally charged in four states in a crackdown on genetic testing fraud , officials said on Friday.
It caused $2.1 billion in losses to federal healthcare insurance programs.
According to the Health and Human Service Department charges were filed in Florida, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia in “one of the largest healthcare fraud schemes ever charged.”
FBI agents and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services inspector general’s office search Clio, Elite Medical Laboratories and medical billing company Laboratory Experts, which are all located in the same business complex.
All three of those companies are connected to Jordan Satary, the son of Khalid Satary of Suwanee, Georgia, Neither father nor son could be reached for comment.
For Medicare, the public insurance program for elderly and disabled Americans, payouts for genetic tests jumped from $480 million in 2015 to $1.1 billion in 2018, a Reuters analysis found.
Genetic testing has sparked more than 300 federal investigations involving healthcare fraud and illegal kickbacks.
Doctors signed off on the tests as being medically necessary, and the swabs were sent for testing to labs that sought Medicare payments.
But many of the lab tests are not relevant to the patient’s history, and some of the doctors sign off on the results without conferring with the patient, investigators say.
By law, all diagnostic lab tests must be ordered by a doctor treating a patient for a specific condition.