ARS TECHNICA – Federal and state investigations into a large national chain of COVID-19 testing sites have turned up tests that were never labeled with patients’ names, tests piled into trash bags stored for long periods at room temperature, tests that were never processed, and test results that were clearly fake.
Behind the testing sites are two Illinois-based companies: Center for COVID Control (CCC) and Doctors Clinical Laboratory, Inc., which is said to carry out COVID PCR testing for CCC.
The two companies share the same address, though CCC is owned by Chicago-area couple Akbar Syed and Aleya Siyaj, while the clinical company is owned by Mohammed Shujauddin.
Together, the companies claim to provide rapid and PCR testing for COVID-19, with fast turnaround times and no appointments necessary.
So far, they have collected more than 400,000 samples from over 300 locations across the US. And they have billed the federal government over $113 million for running many of those tests.
The companies are currently under investigation by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as multiple states.
On Wednesday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a lawsuit alleging numerous counts of deceptive or fraudulent practices by the pair.
Attorney General Ellison said in a statement:
“When Minnesotans and people from around the country tested with these companies to keep themselves and their families safe, they trusted they would get correct results on time.
“I’m holding these companies accountable that sent back false or inaccurate results, when they sent them back at all, for deceiving Minnesotans and undermining the public’s trust in testing.”
According to Ellison’s lawsuit, Minnesota investigators found evidence of egregious fraud and documented numerous cases in which the consumers seeking COVID-19 tests were deceived.
In Minnesota, CCC opened eight pop-up testing sites that claimed to provide rapid test results in 15 minutes … Read more.