Lab Owner Pleads Guilty to $1.7 Million COVID-19 Test Fraud Scheme
A Plano man pleaded guilty Thursday to orchestrating a fraudulent scheme to obtain approximately $1.7 million from Medicare, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton.
Damon Heath Roberts, 55, was charged via criminal information in September 2023 and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to solicit or receive kickbacks for referrals to a federal health care program. He will be sentenced March 28, 2024 and faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison.
According to court documents, Roberts, owner of JDS Labs, admitted that he and others, including medical providers and others with access to patient information, began sharing Medicare beneficiary information so that JDS Labs could bill Medicare for over-the-counter COVID-19 tests. Roberts, in exchange for the patient information, would pay a kickback based on the reimbursement from Medicare to the medical providers or other individuals.
Roberts tried to conceal the kickback payments through the use of passthrough arrangements and cash payments.
Roberts submitted nearly $4 million in claims for the over-the-counter COVID-19 tests and received approximately $1.7 million in reimbursement for the claims. In addition, Roberts paid approximately $149,066 in bribes and kickbacks.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation's Dallas Field Office, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, and the Texas Office of the Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit – DFW are investigating the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Renee Hunter is prosecuting the case.
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