University business classes 101 across the country define “unsolicited supply” to be when a consumer receives products or services that they didn’t request. Fraudster University 101 defines “unsolicited supply” as an opportunity. An opportunity to mail anything to anyone and bill the United States government immediately. Which is what has become a common practice for COVID-19 test kits. Presently, the Department of Justice and FBI are closing in on numerous companies accused of ordering and shipping those test kits, to Medicare members who have not requested those kits.
Marilyn Manger was one of them. She requested the first shipment of COVID-19 tests, but as the months passed, tests kept getting shipped from SK Diagnostics, a Chicago based lab service. SK Diagnostics shipped quite a lot of unsolicited tests on the U.S. taxpayer’s dime. In the nine-week period between March and June of 2023, the company was paid $43,305,656 by Medicare. SK Diagnostics had billed the government on behalf of roughly 465,000 people and 471 others who had died. Fraudsters like dead identities because they don’t complain about fraud.
When Manger reported the issue in early August of 2023, 25,000 people had also reported SK Diagnostics to Medicare. Medicare acted first by offering to change Mangers compromised Medicare account number to stop further unsolicited COVID-19 test kits. Medicare then revoked SK Diagnostics’ ability to participate in the COVID-19 test program by suspending the company for three years.
However, these actions do little to retrieve the stolen funds. The Department of Justice has recovered a little more than $1.5 million from a bank account for the Chicago-based company SK Diagnostics Inc. And after law enforcement interviewed the SK Diagnostics president, the man bought a ticket to India and left the same day.
Kudos go to Marilyn Manger and the 25,000 other people who filed complaints. These actions are essential to combating fraud.
Today’s Fraud of the Day is based on article “Feds recover $1.5 million of alleged $43 million COVID-19 Medicare fraud case” published by WISN ABC News on December 29, 2023
12 News Investigates has learned the Department of Justice and FBI are closing in on companies accused of billing Medicare for COVID-19 test kits that people never wanted and usually never received. It started with one phone call, from one person, to 12 News Investigates in August.
“I’ve never met anyone from these labs, I’ve never requested anything from these labs, I’ve never used these labs,” Sylvia told WISN 12 News. Sylvia did not want to use her last name, still worried about her Medicare number getting used without her permission. She was concerned Medicare paid for COVID-19 tests on her behalf that she never asked for and never received.