Nursing homes and their residents were targeted in an alleged $86 million Medicare fraud scheme orchestrated by the owner of a Tennessee-based lab, federal authorities say.
Fadel Alshalabi, 53, of Waxhaw, NC, was arrested and charged with aiding and abetting, and violating the federal anti-kickback statute for allegedly orchestrating the Medicare billing scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee announced Tuesday.
Alshalabi is the owner of Crestar Labs LLC, and is accused of engaging in a scheme to pay illegal healthcare kickbacks in exchange for soliciting genetic tests from Medicare beneficiaries.
Federal officials allege that as early as 2016 Alshalabi contracted with marketing companies to target Medicare beneficiaries in order to obtain their genetic materials and conduct genetic testing on them. The marketers then allegedly obtained swabs from nursing home residents and other seniors and used telemedicine doctors, who did not work with those patients, to order genetic tests for them.
“Often, the patients or their treating physicians never received the results of the tests. Alshalabi paid illegal kickbacks and bribes in exchange for the doctor’s orders and tests, without regard to any medical necessity,” the Department of Justice explained Tuesday.
A DOJ spokesman on Thursday could not confirm to McKnight’s Long-Term Care News how many nursing home providers or residents were negatively impacted by the scheme.
The scam allegedly lasted until late 2017. Medicare was billed about $86 million for the genetic testing and Crestar was paid about $14 million for the claims.
Alshlabi faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.