TRENTON, N.J. – A former medical laboratory sales representative today admitted participating in a scheme to offer and pay bribes and kickbacks in exchange for ordering genetic tests, Acting U.S. Rachael A. Honig announced today.
Terri Haines, 57, of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson to an information charging her with conspiring to violate the anti-kickback statute.
Haines is the fifth defendant to plead guilty in bribery and kickback schemes involving doctors and medical employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania, area.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Haines was not a health care provider, but made a living soliciting and collecting DNA samples from Medicare patients at health fairs. In exchange for commissions, Haines sent the DNA samples to a lab in New Jersey for “CGx” cancer screen testing. Haines was not authorized to order those CGx tests without a doctor’s sign-off. As a result, Haines paid a kickback and bribe to Dr. Lee Besen, of Scranton, Pennsylvania, to use his name and medical credentials to order CGx tests for the Medicare patients she met at fairs, even though Besen never actually attended any of the health fairs and never met the patients for whom the genetic tests were ordered. Medicare paid over $340,000 for CGx genetic tests that resulted from this scheme.
Besen has previously pleaded guilty for his role in this scheme and a related scheme in which he accepted monthly cash kickbacks and bribes in exchange for collecting DNA samples from Medicare patients and sending them for genetic tests to clinical laboratories in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
The count of conspiracy to violate the federal anti-kickback statute is punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss derived from the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for March 22, 2022.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark; IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael Montanez in Newark; and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General, Philadelphia Regional Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Maureen R. Dixon, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked the FBI Scranton Field Office, FBI Philadelphia Division, and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua L. Haber of the Health Care Fraud Unit and Acting Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney Rahul Agarwal.