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Baton Rouge Lab Owner, Nurse Charged in Kickback Scheme

NEW YORK – A laboratory owner from Louisiana and a nurse were charged with fraud after allegedly billing the federal government about $567,000 as part of a kickback scheme involving referrals for drug tests, the US Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Louisiana said on Sunday.

Terry Wilks, the owner of Acadian Diagnostic Laboratories in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is accused of paying Leslie McHugh, a former registered nurse in Florida, to refer doctors' orders and specimens to the lab for urine drug testing in exchange for kickbacks, according to a statement from the US Attorney's Office.

McHugh lost her nursing license in 2015 and was excluded from participating in all federal healthcare programs in 2016, but Wilks allegedly continued to pay her for referrals between August 2017 and April 2018. According to the complaint, Acadian submitted approximately $549,580 in claims to Medicare and $17,612 in claims to Tricare for testing referred by McHugh in exchange for kickback payments.

The scheme was uncovered by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a joint initiative between the US Department of Justice, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and state Medicaid Fraud Control Units to focus on healthcare fraud in high intensity regions.