Florida lab owner charged in $53M fraud, kickback scheme

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Tuesday that it has charged a Florida lab owner for fraud related to at least $53.3 million in billing for genetic cancer screening tests.

Daniel Hurt of Fort Lauderdale, FL, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and had his initial appearance and arraignment by videoconference on Tuesday in a Newark, NJ, federal court, according to the DOJ U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey.

The DOJ said that according to documents filed in the case and statements made in court, Hurt allegedly owned several clinical laboratories that conducted or arranged for a variety of medical tests without regard to medical necessity. Hurt paid kickbacks and bribes to various entities who supplied referrals and orders for genetic cancer screening tests for Medicare and other healthcare-benefit program beneficiaries, according to the DOJ.

The laboratories submitted claims for payment to Medicare for the genetic cancer screening tests; Medicare reimbursed the laboratories without knowing that the services were not medically necessary or were procured through the payment of kickbacks, the DOJ said.

Hurt's scheme resulted in Medicare paying the laboratories at least $53.3 million for genetic cancer screening tests claims. Hurt received at least $26.9 million from the Medicare reimbursements, the DOJ added.

Hurt has also been charged in the Western District of Pennsylvania and the Southern District of Florida in relation to other healthcare offenses; those charges are pending, the DOJ added.

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