August 31, 2023
NEWARK, N.J. – A Mercer County, New Jersey, man admitted his role in a kickback conspiracy involving COVID-19 testing, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Tauqir Khan, 65, of Pennington, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute for his role in a scheme to obtain kickbacks for the referral of COVID-19 test samples.
“Clinical laboratories and health care professionals are on notice: paying kickbacks to steer tests to a lab may break the law,” U.S. Attorney Sellinger said. “This office is committed to using all the tools at our disposal to keep illegal kickbacks out of our health care system and preserve the integrity of medical decision making.”
“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 health care programs,” FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “It may take time, but FBI Newark and our law enforcement partners are bringing to justice those who stole money that wasn’t intended for their bank accounts.”
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:
Khan and his conspirators solicited kickbacks in exchange for providing COVID-19 test samples to Metpath Laboratories, a clinical laboratory located in Parsippany, New Jersey, that conducted testing to detect the presence of COVID-19 in samples obtained from individual patients. Metpath paid kickbacks for the referrals of COVID-19 test samples and subsequently billed Medicare and other health care benefit programs for the tests.
The charge of conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute is punishable by 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, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2024.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation leading to the guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney DeNae M. Thomas of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Michael J. Pappa Esq., Hazlet, New Jersey