NEW YORK – The US Attorney's Office for the Western District of Louisiana announced Tuesday that a federal grand jury indicted the owner of Specialty Drug Testing, a clinical and anatomical pathology laboratory, for paying bribes and kickbacks that led to improper billings to Medicare of approximately $117 million.
The indictment alleged that Medicare paid Specialty approximately $28.7 million or more as a result of the false and fraudulent claims.
The owner of the Monroe, Louisiana-based laboratory, George Fluitt III, made an initial appearance in United States District Court on Tuesday, accused of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute.
According to the indictment, Fluitt and Specialty conspired with other undisclosed co-conspirators and companies to unlawfully enrich themselves and others by soliciting and paying kickbacks and bribes in return for patient DNA specimens and physicians’ orders for cancer genetic tests and pharmacogenetic tests.
Specifically, the indictment alleges that Fluitt and two other co-conspirators created and transmitted invoices and spreadsheets reflecting the kickback and bribe payments owed by Specialty. They used email and other forms of communication to inform each other of Medicare reimbursements, the payment of kickbacks and bribes, and other matters related to the scheme to defraud, the US Attorney's Office said in a statement.
If convicted, Fluitt faces up to five years in prison for each count of conspiracy to defraud Medicare, and up to 10 years in prison for illegal kickbacks. He also faces up to five years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture, and restitution, the US Attorney's Office said.
A US Department of Health and Human Services investigation led to the indictment.