Friday, December 29, 2023

COVID Testing Company CareCube Was Vast Fraud, Feds Say; Former Atlanta Assistant Attorney Stole $7M in COVID Relief Funds, Faces 90 Years in Prison, and other C-Virus related stories

Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY
COVID Testing Company CareCube Was Vast Fraud, Feds Say:
Remember CareCube? During the pandemic, the COVID-testing company had multiplied across 20 different locations, taking advantage of the broad need for people to get swabbed. It just as quickly got a reputation for ripping people off, sometimes double-billing insurance companies and patients for the same procedure.
In January 2022, I investigated the accusations and found that not only were they being accused of systematically overcharging customers, but they were also accused of using the medical offices as part of a referral network that would lead elderly patients to getting medically unnecessary surgeries. These painful procedures were largely being done at the medical headquarters of Dr. Niranjan K. Mittal, a cardiologist in Bay Ridge, who would charge insurers as much as $10,000 per procedure, according to the people I spoke with. “A lot of patients always complained, ‘I don’t want to do the procedure; the last time I had the procedure, my leg was still hurting. I don’t want to go back there anymore,’” a former employee said at the time. The day after that story published, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced an investigation into its billing practices, and would settle with the company in July — including full refunds for New Yorkers, with paid interest.
On Thursday, federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed their own charges against Mittal largely related to the unnecessary surgeries, including two counts of conspiracy to violate fraud and anti-kickback laws, as well as fraud and bribery charges. (The investigation was conducted with Homeland Security Investigations and the IRS.) According to the court documents, Mittal is accused of billing more than $100 million worth of peripheral angiograms — a procedure where a doctor usually inserts a catheter into a patient’s groin to check for arterial blockages — and paying some doctors more than $100,000 in bribes, disguised as “rent” payments, for patients. When those patients would come to his Bay Ridge office, he or other doctors would allegedly note fake symptoms on their notes. Those notes would then get sent to other employees, who “generated a typewritten note from templates, in which they randomly picked additional symptoms to support whatever tests had been ordered,” according to Mittal’s indictment. Authorities said some patients had received as many as 15 of the procedures. --->READ MORE HERE
Getty Images
Former Atlanta assistant attorney stole $7M in COVID relief funds, faces 90 years in prison
A federal jury convicted a former Atlanta assistant city attorney Wednesday for defrauding a COVID-era stimulus program.Shelitha Robertson faces up to 90 years in prison for stealing over $7 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. She used the money to buy luxury goods, including a 10-carat diamond ring, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Robertson also transferred funds to family members and a co-conspirator.
"The Paycheck Protection Program was intended to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the COVID-19 crisis, not to fund a personal lifestyle,” U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General Eastern Region Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite said. “OIG is committed to rooting out bad actors and protecting the integrity of SBA programs."
Robertson conspired to submit PPP loan applications on behalf of four businesses she owned. The applications falsely inflated the number of employees and average monthly payroll for each of the companies, allowing her to receive larger PPP loans than she could legitimately have. Robertson also submitted inaccurate tax documents to support her applications.
She incurred three counts of wire fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and will receive her sentence April 11. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

Michigan woman allegedly took PPP loans during pandemic, but had no payroll expenses

How waste water testing provides an efficient way to predict public health

USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

If you like what you see, please "Like" and/or Follow us on FACEBOOK here, GETTR here, and TWITTER here.

No comments: