Man Pleads Guilty in New Jersey Kickback Conspiracy Involving COVID-19 Testing
August 31, 2023
NEWARK, N.J. – Tauqir Khan, a 65-year-old resident of Pennington, New Jersey, has confessed to his involvement in a kickback conspiracy related to COVID-19 testing, according to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger. The announcement was made today, shedding light on the illegal activities that have plagued the healthcare system during the global pandemic.
Khan pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Newark federal court. The charge brought against him pertained to his participation in a scheme designed to secure kickbacks in exchange for the referral of COVID-19 test samples. This violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute has significant consequences for those involved, as it jeopardizes the integrity of medical decision-making and the overall functionality of the healthcare system.
The U.S. Attorney, Philip R. Sellinger, firmly stated, “Clinical laboratories and healthcare professionals are now on notice: paying kickbacks to steer tests to a lab may break the law. This office is committed to utilizing all the necessary tools to safeguard the integrity of medical decision-making and prevent illegal kickbacks from infiltrating our healthcare system.”
The FBI took an active role in investigating this case, as James E. Dennehy, the Special Agent in Charge of FBI – Newark, highlighted the audaciousness of the perpetrators: “There were many fraudsters who saw the global pandemic as a get-rich-quick gold mine. Khan and his conspirators were no different, soliciting kickbacks and wrongfully billing healthcare programs. It may take time, but the FBI Newark and our dedicated law enforcement partners are making sure that those who stole money intended for other purposes are brought to justice.”
According to court documents, Khan and his conspirators sought kickbacks by offering up COVID-19 test samples to Metpath Laboratories, a clinical laboratory based in Parsippany, New Jersey. Metpath paid kickbacks for the referrals of these test samples and then proceeded to bill Medicare and other healthcare benefit programs for the tests conducted.
The charge of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute carries severe punishments, with a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross profit or loss caused by the offense, depending on whichever is greater. Khan is scheduled for sentencing on January 11, 2024.
The FBI’s swift action in partnership with other law enforcement agencies highlights the commitment to dismantling fraudulent operations within the healthcare sector. The success of this investigation can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of the special agents of the FBI, who fall under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark.
Assistant U.S. Attorney DeNae M. Thomas, representing the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark, is handling the government’s case against Khan.
In Conclusion, the guilty plea entered by Tauqir Khan exposes the alarming presence of opportunistic fraudsters amid the global health crisis. The illegal activities of Khan and his co-conspirators demonstrate the lengths to which some individuals would go to exploit the pandemic for personal financial gain. However, the criminal justice system, along with the vigilant efforts of the FBI Newark and its collaborative law enforcement partners, is resolute in holding accountable those responsible for the misappropriation of funds intended for the well-being of the American people. By maintaining the integrity of medical decision-making, the justice system aims to rebuild trust in the healthcare system and ensure that resources are appropriately allocated to those in need.