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On February 26, David Weathers of the Bronx pleaded guilty in federal court in New Jersey for his role in a COVID-19 kickback conspiracy. The government had charged Weathers with soliciting kickbacks in return for referrals of COVID-19 test samples, in violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS).

At the other end of the scheme was Metpath Laboratories, a clinical laboratory in Parsippany, New Jersey. Metpath paid Weathers and his co-conspirators for referrals of COVID-19 test samples that were then billed to Medicare and other federal health care programs. The total billed to the government from the ill-gotten test samples was $3.5 million.

Weathers referred more than 5,000 COVID-19 test samples to Metpath and was paid $30 per sample, amounting to kickback payments of about $152,370. Weathers’ company, MedtechCares, Inc., issued invoices to Metpath falsely stating that the payments were legitimate business expenses.

The charge of conspiracy to violate the AKS 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 (here, $7 million), whichever is greatest. Weathers’ sentencing is scheduled for July 10, 2024.

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