A pair of North Jersey men were indicted Wednesday in an alleged COVID-19 testing kickback scheme, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
Four people in total were involved in the alleged scheme tied to a testing lab in Parsippany called Metpath Laboratories, the office said. Court documents claim Abid Syed, of East Hanover, and Tariq Din, of Saddle River, operated the lab and paid kickbacks to "marketers" for testing referrals.
In total, the lab received $3.5 million in federal insurance reimbursements, including from Medicare, the office said.
Two of the alleged marketers, Muhammed Aurangzeb, of Robbinsville, and David Weathers, of Bronx, New York, were paid $5 to $30 for each referral, according to the office. Another person, identified in court papers as "Individual-1," also allegedly received payments but was not charged.
Syed's attorney, Lee Vartan, said the indictment does not allege a crime.
"MetPath tested Covid samples from real patients in need of testing, provided accurate test results, and billed as it was authorized to do," Vartan said in an email. "This is a case of a lab doing exactly what the government wanted it to do during a pandemic: test."
Weathers' attorney, Jeff Greco, said: "While Mr. Weathers is disappointed in the Department of Justice's decision to indict him after a lengthy investigation, he vehemently denies the charge levied in the indictment and looks forward to his day in Court."
Attorneys for Aurangzeb and Din did not respond to messages Wednesday night.
The indictment claims Metpath paid Weathers $152,370.00 for referring 5,079 COVID-19 tests to the lab in January; it paid about $5,060.00 to Aurangzeb's company, Maximum Business Solutions, for referring 502 tests between August and September. They allegedly submitted invoices to Metpath to make it seem as if the payments were for legitimate business expenses, the office said.
Each man was charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the federal Anti-Kickback Statute, punishable by a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison. The maximum fine for each count is $250,000, or twice the gross profit or loss caused by the offense, whichever is greatest, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Parsippany NJ lab operators indicted in COVID kickback scheme