Trib Live

A Monroeville man who owns two genetic testing labs was charged in federal court last week for his alleged involvement in a scheme that cost Medicare $127 million and for allegedly conspiring with companies to pay kickbacks for lab tests.

Ravitej Reddy, 52, owns Personalized Genetics LLC in Pittsburgh and Med Health Services Management in Monroeville.

He faces two counts of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks, one count of conspiracy to pay kickbacks and one count of offering and paying kickbacks, according to a complaint filed following an investigation led by the FBI and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“In less than a year, Ravitej Reddy and his partners in crime were responsible for more than $125 million in genetic testing claims submitted to Medicare as the result of a sophisticated, nationwide kickback scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Scott Brady in a statement.

Prosecutors said the scheme related to billing Medicare about $127 million for two kinds of genetic testing at his labs from May 2018 to April.

One test, called cancer genomic testing, or CGx, uses DNA sequencing to detect mutations that could indicate cancer risk. The other, pharmacogenetic testing, or PGx, detects effectiveness of medications.

Reddy and six conspirators allegedly collected DNA samples from Medicare beneficiaries by having marketers reach out to them. The marketers would ask beneficiaries to submit cheek swabs using kits sent to their homes. They also brought kits to health fairs across the country.

Marketers were then paid kickbacks if samples were sent to Reddy’s labs.

Reddy also paid kickbacks to a telemedicine company that he used to get fraudulent prescriptions from doctors hired to review patients’ medical histories. Those doctors would then authorize further testing without the proper telemedicine visits.

Proescutors said Reddy’s labs received $60 million in reimbursements from more than $127 million in bills from Medicare.

A call to Reddy’s lab in Pittsburgh was not returned and a man who answered the phone at the Monroeville lab deferred questions to Reddy’s attorney, Mark Rush.

Rush did not respond to a request for comment.

According to a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Pittsburgh, Reddy has not been detained and a court date has not been set.