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$73 Million Medicare Genetic Testing Scheme Nets Guilty Plea (1)

Sept. 1, 2021, 6:15 PMUpdated: Sept. 1, 2021, 10:55 PM

A Florida owner of genetic testing laboratories pleaded guilty to paying kickbacks to doctors for unnecessary genetic testing as part of a $73 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Leonel Palatnik, a co-owner of Panda Conservation Group LLC, admitted in his plea that he paid kickbacks to induce telemedicine providers to authorize genetic testing at Panda’s laboratories, the Justice Department said in a Sept. 1 statement.

The case was one of the first brought by the Justice Department against fraudsters taking advantage of wider access to telehealth services allowed by federal regulators during the Covid-19 pandemic, and could reverberate in Congress.

The ...