NASHVILLE – The owner and Chief Executive Officer of Spring Hill, Tennessee-based Crestar Labs, LLC, (Crestar) was charged Friday with aiding and abetting and violation of the anti-kickback statute for his role in orchestrating a fraudulent Medicare billing scheme relating to genetic testing in cancer patients, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee.
The criminal complaint was unsealed yesterday and outlined the charges against Fadel Alshalabi, 53, of Waxhaw, North Carolina. Alshalabi was arrested by federal agents Sunday evening in Chicago and will return to the Middle District of Tennessee to face the charges.
The complaint alleges that beginning as early as 2016, Alshalabi, as the owner of Crestar, engaged in a scheme to pay illegal health care kickbacks in exchange for the solicitation of genetic tests from Medicare beneficiaries. In addition to the laboratory in Spring Hill, Alshalabi owned associated labs in other locations, including Karemore Labs in Baltimore, Maryland, and Martis Labs and CrestarDX in Dallas, Texas.
Alshalabi, as the owner and Chief Executive Officer, contracted with marketing companies to target and recruit elderly patients who were federal health care program beneficiaries in order to obtain their genetic material for conducting genetic tests. Marketers, who were not health care professionals, obtained swabs from the mouths of the patients at nursing homes, senior health fairs, and elsewhere. The tests were then approved by telemedicine doctors who did not engage in the treatment of the patients, and often did not even speak with the patients for whom they ordered tests. Often, the patients or their treating physicians never received the results of the tests. Alshalabi paid illegal kickbacks and bribes in exchange for the doctor’s orders and tests, without regard to any medical necessity. During the period of late 2017 to present, Crestar billed Medicare approximately $86 million for genetic testing and was paid almost $14 million for those claims.
If convicted, Alshlabi faces up to 10 years in prison.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services- Office of Inspector General and the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah K. Bogni is prosecuting the case.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.