The owner of a Florida lab has pleaded guilty to a $7 million Medicare fraud scheme in which he touts telemedicine firms and doctors to provide low-cost COVID-19 tests for thousands of patients as well as expensive but unnecessary genetic testing. paid for the bribe.
Christopher Licata, 45, of Delray Beach, Florida, acknowledges that his lab, Boca Toxicology LLC, has made costly and medically-redundant respiratory and genetic testing for heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia only patients who want it. pushed on. Find out if they contracted the coronavirus.
Federal prosecutors say Lycata launched the scheme in a different form in 2018, but kicked it into high gear when the coronavirus pandemic hit and continues to submit fraudulent claims into 2021.
,‘Once the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, Licata took advantage of patients’ fear of COVID-19 by combining COVID-19 tests with more expensive, medically unnecessary testing.’,
“Once the COVID-19 pandemic began, Licata took advantage of patients’ fears of COVID-19 by combining COVID-19 tests with more expensive, medically unnecessary testing,” prosecutors wrote.
Prosecutors say the additional testing yielded a far higher payout from Medicare than lower-priced COVID-19 tests. In total, they say Boca Toxicology submitted $6.9 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare, receiving nearly $3 million in payments.
Messages left to Licata’s lawyer were not immediately returned.
According to court documents, Lycata paid 10% of what it received to a network of brokers who worked with doctors’ offices to refer Medicare patients and conduct unnecessary tests in their lab. Prosecutors said that in many cases, referrals came from telemedicine companies, where doctors allegedly signed orders to test patients they had never seen.
Likta pleaded guilty in federal court in Florida to a count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. He faces up to 10 years in prison when he is scheduled on March 24.