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Marketers, Doctors Pay $1.5M to Resolve Charges of Lab Fraud

NEW YORK – The US Department of Justice said Monday that two laboratory marketers and five physicians have agreed to pay a total of $1.5 million to resolve False Claims Act violations arising from lab kickback schemes.

Under the agreement, lab marketers George Carralejo of Yorba Linda, California, and Michael Jeresaty of Daniel Island, South Carolina, and their marketing companies, as well as physicians Paul Bierig of Plano, Texas; Mohd Azfar Malik, Barry Feinberg, and Rachel Feinberg of St. Louis; and Robert Ain of Wichita, Kansas will pay the $1.5 million penalty and cooperate with DOJ investigations into other participants in the alleged scheme.

According to the DOJ, between August 2020 and September 2021, Carralejo and his company OC Genetic Consultants conspired with Jeresaty's marketing firm Ralston Health Group to pay kickbacks to a doctor in Houston to induce him to order lab testing from the labs RDx Bioscience and Next Bio-Research Services. Both marketing companies allegedly profited from commissions paid by RDx and Next Bio-Research for the test referrals.

Additionally, the DOJ alleges that between October 2021 and October 2022, Carralejo and OC Genetic Consultants conspired with Texas-based marketer BeauMed Consultants to pay kickbacks to a doctor in Little Rock, Arkansas, to induce her to order tests from RDx.

Under the agreement with DOJ, Carralejo and his company will pay $400,000 to resolve the False Claims Act allegations and Jeresaty and Ralston will pay $320,000.

The five physicians are paying to settle allegations that they received payments for ordering lab tests from certain facilities.

Bierig will pay $120,634 to resolve allegations that from October 2016 to June 2022, he received thousands of dollars in payments from Avior Group and other purported management service organizations, including Infinity One Health Group MSO and Infinity Three Health Group MSO, in return for ordering lab tests from RDx and InHealth Diagnostic doing business as RealLab, a clinical lab in Dallas.

Malik has agreed to pay $217,430 to resolve allegations that from January 2019 to March 2020, he received thousands of dollars from Alari Group in return for ordering laboratory tests from Genesis Reference Laboratories, a clinical lab in Orlando, Florida, and InHealth.

Ain has agreed to pay $100,632 to resolve allegations that from May 2017 to February 2019, he received thousands of dollars in payments from purported MSO Ruthenium Management in return for ordering lab tests from Landmark Diagnostics, a clinical lab in Houston.

The Feinbergs have agreed to pay $342,466 to resolve allegations that from January 2016 to December 2018, they received thousands of dollars from purported MSOs named ESA Toxicology and Beachwood Services in return for ordering laboratory tests from Landmark.

The claims resolved by these settlements are only allegations, and there has been no determination of liability, the DOJ said.