Lab owner, woman charged in Medicare kickback scheme

By staff writers

September 21, 2021 -- An owner of a Louisiana clinical laboratory and a Florida woman have been charged in a scheme to pay and receive kickbacks for Medicare diagnostic services for urine drug testing.

A federal grand jury returned a seven-count indictment against Terry Steven Wilks Jr., owner of Acadian Diagnostic Laboratories in Baton Rouge, and Leslie Amanda McHugh, formerly a registered nurse in Florida. Wilks and McHugh are charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., offering and paying kickbacks, and soliciting and receiving kickbacks.

The Florida Board of Nursing had revoked McHugh's nursing license in 2015, and in 2016, Medicare had excluded her from participation in all federal healthcare programs.

Despite her exclusion and subsequent purported termination from Acadian, Wilks continued to pay McHugh to refer doctors' orders and specimens to Acadian for urine drug testing in exchange for kickback payments, the indictment alleges. Payments were allegedly made in cash, as well as funneled through a company that Wilks had created.

The charges resulted from an investigation by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, which is part of a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and state Medicaid Fraud Control Units that aim to reduce and prevent Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Craig and DOJ Trial Attorney Justin Woodard are prosecuting the case.

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Last Updated ls 9/21/2021 3:42:33 PM