Skip to main content
Learn more about advertising with us.
Image: [image credit]
Photo 177766872 © Mykhailo Polenok | Dreamstime.com

Laboratory Owners Charged in $36M COVID-19 Testing Fraud Scheme

An indictment was unsealed in the Southern District of Florida charging three men for their alleged roles in an approximately $36 million healthcare fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering scheme that involved submitting false and fraudulent claims for COVID-19 testing to health care benefit programs, including Medicare and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Program.

Enrique Perez-Paris, 47, of Aventura, Florida, and Diego Sanudo Sanchez Chocron, 47, of Venice, California, made their initial appearances today in the U.S. District Court for Southern District of Florida. Gregory Charles “Milo” Caskey, 57, of San Antonio, Texas, made his initial appearance today in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

According to court documents, Perez-Paris, Sanchez, and Caskey were owners of Innovative Genomics, an independent laboratory. Between November 2019 and June 2023, the defendants and others allegedly conspired to submit claims for medically unnecessary and non-reimbursable COVID-19 testing. The defendants also allegedly paid illegal kickbacks and bribes to patient recruiters who arranged for health care providers to refer the tests to Innovative Genomics. At times, the defendants allegedly caused the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program to be improperly billed for tests for Medicare beneficiaries. The defendants allegedly further billed for tests that the Food and Drug Administration had not approved for emergency-use authorization.

The defendants are each charged with conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud, three counts of health care fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each of the conspiracy counts and a maximum penalty of 10 years on each health care fraud count.

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida; Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey B. Veltri of the FBI Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Stephen Mahmood of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Miami Regional Office made the announcement.

The FBI and HHS-OIG investigated the case.

Trial Attorney Reginald Cuyler Jr. of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section is prosecuting the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marx Calderon for the Southern District of Florida is handling asset forfeiture.

The Fraud Section leads the Criminal Division’s efforts to combat health care fraud through the Health Care Fraud Strike Force Program. Since March 2007, this program, currently comprised of nine strike forces operating in 27 federal districts, has charged more than 5,400 defendants who collectively have billed federal health care programs and private insurers more than $27 billion. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, are taking steps to hold providers accountable for their involvement in health care fraud schemes. More information can be found at www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/health-care-fraud-unit.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.