Former drug lab owners settle with feds over fraud claims

March 31, 2021 GMT

CHARLOTTE (AP) — The owners of a former drug-testing lab in North Carolina have agreed to pay the federal government more than $7 million to settle claims that they fleeced taxpayers with fraudulent medical claims that involved urine tests.

The Charlotte Observer reported Tuesday that the lab was the now defunct Physicians Choice Laboratory Services.

It opened in Charlotte in 2009 before moving to Rock Hill, South Carolina. It’s building was empty by 2017.

Federal prosecutors claimed that it offered kickbacks to physicians in exchange for referring patient urine samples for drug testing. The lab then billed Medicare, the federal insurance program for seniors.

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Acting U.S. Attorney Bill Stetzer of Charlotte said the defendants damaged the credibility of drug testing.

“Offering financial incentives to medical providers in exchange for performing these tests not only violates the law, it undercuts the significant efforts that the medical and law enforcement communities have made to combat the opioid crisis in America,” Stetzer said in a statement.