NRI Pulse Staff Report
Atlanta, GA, December 18, 2022: A federal jury in the Southern District of Florida recently convicted an Atlanta-based Indian-American man recently for his role in a scheme to defraud Medicare by submitting over $463 million in genetic and other laboratory tests that patients did not need and that were procured through the payment of kickbacks.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Minal Patel, 44, owned LabSolutions LLC (LabSolutions), a lab enrolled with Medicare that performed sophisticated genetic tests.
Patel allegedly conspired with patient brokers, telemedicine companies, and call centers to target Medicare beneficiaries with telemarketing calls falsely stating that Medicare covered expensive cancer genetic tests. After the Medicare beneficiaries agreed to take a test, Patel allegedly paid kickbacks and bribes to patient brokers to obtain signed doctors’ orders authorizing the tests from telemedicine companies. To conceal the kickbacks, Patel required patient brokers to sign contracts that falsely stated that they were performing legitimate advertising services for LabSolutions, said a Department of Justice press release.
The telemedicine doctors approved the expensive testing even though they were not treating the beneficiaries and often did not even speak with them. From July 2016 through August 2019, LabSolutions reportedly submitted more than $463 million in claims to Medicare, including for medically unnecessary genetic tests, of which Medicare paid over $187 million. In that timeframe, Patel allegedly received over $21 million in Medicare proceeds.
Patel was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, three counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and to pay and receive illegal health care kickbacks, four counts of paying illegal health care kickbacks, and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 7, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the first conspiracy count, 10 years on each health care fraud count, five years on the second conspiracy count, 10 years on each kickback count, and 20 years on the third conspiracy count. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The case was brought as part of Operation Double Helix, a federal law enforcement action led by the Health Care Fraud Strike Force, under the supervision of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, focused on fraudulent genetic cancer testing that has resulted in charges against dozens of defendants associated with telemedicine companies and cancer genetic testing laboratories for their alleged participation in one of the largest health care fraud schemes ever charged.