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Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty To Role In A Genetic Testing Kickback Scheme

DNA tests are quite popular these days. Television journalist and talk show host, Maury Povich has made quite the career out of revealing the results of paternity tests on his self-titled program. As well, numerous websites have popped up, over the past decade, giving people hope that they will either find their ancestors or, at least, better determine their true heritages. Jeremy Richey of Mars, Pennsylvania, however, has taken the benefits of genetic testing to an entirely different level.

As reported by the District of New Jersey branch of the United States Department of Justice, this week, Richley has admitted to participating in a $4.6 million kickback scheme related to genetic testing. According to the DoJ, the 40 year-old pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States in connection with a scheme to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute.

Richley is one of six defendants in this case.

The individuals who participated in the scheme were previously charged by indictment in September of 2019. This past Monday, Richley and his co-conspirators admitted to their roles in a joint conspiracy to receive kickbacks and bribes from laboratories in exchange for referrals of patient DNA samples and genetic tests.

According to court documents, Richey and his cohorts operated Ark Laboratory Network LLC (Ark). The company claimed to operate a network of laboratories that facilitated genetic testing. Through Ark, Richey and his team submitted or caused to be submitted several referrals for genetic tests and patients’ DNA samples. They were sent to various clinical laboratories across the United States.

Richey and his team entered into kickback agreements with certain clinical laboratories.

The DoJ reveals that the labs paid Ark bribes in exchange for delivering DNA samples and orders for genetic tests. Ark then concealed these kickback agreements through issuing sham invoices to laboratories. The bogus invoices claimed services that were provided at an hourly rate even though the parties had already agreed to a bribe amount. The amounts to be received were based either on the revenue the labs received from Medicare or the payments for each DNA sample.

“From January 2018 through January 2019, Medicare paid these laboratories at least approximately $4.6 million for genetic tests that resulted from the referrals and DNA samples that Ark delivered to the laboratories in exchange for bribes,” the DoJ reports, “In turn, the laboratories paid Ark at least $1.8 million in bribes.”

Richley is facing a maximum five-year prison term for his crime. He is also subject to a $250,000 fine or twice the gross grain or loss from the offense. His sentencing is scheduled for August 9 of this year.

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