The DOJ just announced that Lourdes Navarro pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and wire fraud. Navarro now faces up to 20 years in prison for her role in a $359 million scheme the Government alleges exploited the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Court documents, from June 2020 to April 2020 Navarro obtained nasal swab specimens from various assisted living facilities and schools by alleging that the specimens would be used to test and isolate individuals infected with COVID-19. However, Navarro, and co-conspirator Imran Shams, provided the samples to Matias Clinical Laboratory, dba Health Care Providers Laboratory, which allowed the laboratory to conduct medically unnecessary respiratory pathogen panel tests, although only COVID-19 tests had been ordered. In turn, Navarro and Shams submitted approximately $359 million in claims for RPP tests to Medicare and were reimbursed approximately $54 million.

The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman continue to follow the Government’s COVID-19 fraud enforcement efforts. In August, the Government criminally charged 371 individuals for over $830 million in alleged COVID-19 fraud, and continued to crack down on those who it claims took advantage of the unprecedented time created by the pandemic in September. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland noted the foregoing enforcement and stated that “those who stole from government health programs during the COVID-19 pandemic not only violated federal law, they betrayed the public trust” when announcing Navarro’s plea. Navarro and Shams are scheduled to be sentenced in January 2024.

The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with white-collar criminal investigations and healthcare fraud investigations.  If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.