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Northwest Physicians Lab Indicted for Alleged Kickback Scheme

NEW YORK – The US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington announced last week that Northwest Physicians Laboratory and three of its executives have been indicted for their part in an alleged kickback scheme with Molecular Testing Labs.

The three indicted Northwest Physicians executives are Jae Lee, Richard Reid, and Kevin Puls.

According to DOJ, starting in 2014, Northwest Physicians received up to $100,000 a month in exchange for referring urine tests to be performed at MTL. Because Northwest Physicians is physician-owned, it couldn't test urine samples for patients covered by government health programs, DOJ said in a statement.

In order to hide the kickback payments, the two labs described the fees paid by MTL to Northwest Physicians as marketing services being performed, DOJ alleged, adding MTL paid a total of $450,000 to Northwest Physicians, and MTL billed the government for more than $2 million for the urine testing services. The co-founder of MTL, Steven Verschoor, admitted to paying kickbacks to Northwest Physicians in a plea agreement last month.

Last year, MTL paid $1.8 million to settle accusations that it violated the False Claims Act by paying kickbacks for referrals to government health insurance programs. It did not admit to any wrongdoing as part of the settlement, however.