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Bronx, New York, Man Admits Soliciting Kickbacks in Multimillion-Dollar COVID-19 Testing Kickback Conspiracy

A Bronx, New York, man admitted his role in a kickback conspiracy involving COVID-19 testing, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

David Weathers, 61, of Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian R. Martinotti in Newark federal court on Feb. 26, 2024, to an indictment charging him with conspiring to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute by soliciting kickbacks for the referral of COVID-19 test samples.

“It took fraudsters no time at all to hunt for a get rich quick scheme when the pandemic started,” FBI – Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy said. “Weathers and his conspirators set their eyes on the federal government and the funding made available under the CARES Act. He now admits to asking a lab in New Jersey for kickbacks when he provided COVID-19 test samples, which were ultimately paid for by federal funding. Anyone who believes they will get away with their crimes as time passes should take note of this case, you will be brought to justice.”

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:

Weathers 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, among other things, 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, causing a loss of more than $3.5 million to federal programs.

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 July 10, 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 Thomas of the Health Care Fraud Unit in Newark.