November 28, 2022

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L.A. allegedly falsified COVID test results;  He agrees to pay $22.5 million

L.A. allegedly falsified COVID test results; He agrees to pay $22.5 million

a Los AngelesAnd California based on COVID-19 The testing company agreed to pay more than $22 million to a settlement after it was accused of falsifying test results and engaging in false advertising.

A complaint alleges that the company, which does business under the name “Sameday Health,” falsely stated that it could provide test results within 24 hours despite knowing it was unable to do so, according to press release From Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Foer.

Home testing kits, specifically the Celltrion DiaTrust COVID-19 Ag home tests, are stacked for delivery in Boston on January 5, 2022. (Photo by Lynn Turner/The Boston Globe via Getty Images/Getty Images)

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When that promise could not be fulfilled, the company allegedly falsified results for at least 500 customers by tampering with outdated PDF lab reports and in some cases sent the fake results to customers before their samples were handed over to the lab for testing.

In some cases, customers allegedly received “negative” test results without the company having any way of knowing if this was really the case.

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“It’s outrageous for anyone to fake COVID tests, as we’ve claimed here,” Foer said in a statement. “If you get a negative test, you assume it’s safe to go to work, visit family and friends, or take time off.” “But victims of this alleged scheme may have spread COVID to others without their knowledge or failed to receive appropriate, timely care,” Foer said. “I just got past COVID myself and I know how important it is to get accurate test results. This historic decision will stop this alleged scheme, give consumers and insurers compensation, and impose tough penalties.”

The company, led by CEO Felix Hotenbach, agreed to pay $22.5 million to the City of Los Angeles to go along with a $3.9 million settlement between the city and alleged co-owner of the alleged scheme, Dr. Jeff Toll.

The complaints also allege that Sameday Health and Huettenbach conspired with Toll to commit insurance fraud by hitting insurance companies that were already paying for COVID-19 tests with additional fees for unnecessary medical consultations.

A person receives a throat swab from a health care worker at a rapid test site inside the Bismarck Event Center as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Bismarck, North Dakota, US, October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Beng Guan (Reuters / Bing Guan / Reuters Photo)

Sameday Health operates 55 testing sites across the country including 16 in Los Angeles County and has generated “tens of millions” in revenue since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the press release.

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Sameday Health released its own press release acknowledging that it has failed to meet the “standard of excellence” that its customers “deserve.”

“Sameday Health was founded in September 2020 in an effort to make rapid and reliable Covid testing available to everyone,” the company statement said. “In the early days, amid the chaos of skyrocketing demand for services and shortages of supplies, we failed to meet the standards of excellence that our customers deserve. We have fixed the issues that emerged in 2020 and made significant investments in compliance and systems that ensure we meet our customers’ expectations.”

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The statement continued, “We have agreed to a settlement with the city attorney general and the Los Angeles County District Attorney in order to move forward and allow 1,200 Sameday men and women to focus on providing high-level service to the communities we serve.”