NEW YORK — The US Department of Justice said Wednesday that former Arrayit President Mark Schena has been sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in a $77 million COVID-19 and allergy testing fraud scheme.
Schena was accused of defrauding Arrayit investors about the financial state of the company, as well as orchestrating an illegal kickback and healthcare fraud scheme that involved submitting fraudulent claims to Medicare and private insurance for unnecessary allergy testing.
According to the government, Schena told investors that Arrayit had developed a COVID-19 test that was more accurate than PCR testing, while concealing that the US Food and Drug Administration had determined the company's test was not accurate enough to receive Emergency Use Authorization. He also failed to release the company's financial disclosures, issued false press releases and public statements that it had entered into lucrative partnerships with various entities, and falsely represented to investors that Arrayit could be valued at $4.5 billion, while, in fact, Arrayit was on the verge of bankruptcy.
The DOJ also said that according to court documents, Schena and his publicist characterized Schena as the "father of microarray technology" and said he was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize. Further, Schena claimed that US government officials had mandated testing for COVID-19 and allergies at the same time and required patients receiving the Arrayit COVID-19 test also be tested for allergies.
Additionally, Schena ran a kickback scheme in which he made payments to marketers to obtain patient blood specimens and submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare and private payors for allergy testing.