Bob Ferguson, the Washington State Attorney General, has officially filed a lawsuit targeting the Illinois-based Center for COVID Control, officially tanking up ranks alongside other states as well as the federal government who are looking into the center for allegedly handing out fake tests and committing various formed of fraud.
As reported by CBS News, the lawsuit from Ferguson alleges that the center in question, which carries out over 300 COVID testing facilities across the country, “failed to deliver prompt, valid and accurate results” to its customers and for allegedly telling all of its employees to “lie to patients on a daily basis.”
“Center for COVID Control contributed to the spread of COVID-19 when it provided false-negative results,” stated Ferguson in a press release about the lawsuit. “These sham testing centers threatened the health and safety of our communities. They must be held accountable.”
The press release highlighted that the center operated at least 13 testing facilities in Washington but “did not have a license to operate in any municipalities in Washington, except for Yakima, at the time they conducted COVID-19 tests.” The various unlicensed testing facilities close on January 13.
The center put out advertisements that stated that they could provide test results within a 15-minute wait for the rapid antigen tests and within 48 hours for the PCR tests, but it was alleged by Ferguson that the company knew outright that these advertisements were fake and that they could never meet those promises. His press release stated that the former employees issued reports that stated that the center was given roughly 8,000 and 10,000 tests per day and could never keep up but refused to hire more people to pick up the slack.
“Employees began storing tests in garbage bags and piling them up in various corners of the office with no semblance of organization. Some former employees reported regularly finding tests sitting in trash bags that were over a week old, never refrigerated properly and never tested by the company’s lab,” stated the press release. “Testing samples can only keep for so long — a lab manager for the company reported that beyond three days, a sample is invalid. The company’s Director of Operations instructed employees to start falsely post-dating samples to make them appear more recent than they actually were, and submit them for testing anyway so the company could potentially still bill insurance companies or the federal government for the tests.”
The lawsuit from Washington State comes in the wake of other lawsuits from various states and an investigation by the federal government into the Center for COVID Control. Previously, the FBI issued a raid on and searched the Illinois headquarters for the centers. The Center has gotten well over $123 million in reimbursements from the federal government. Just days prior to the raid from the FBI, the Center for COVID Control and its labs were slammed with a consumer-protection complaint by the office of the Minnesota Attorney General, which accused the various testing locations of “deceptive and fraudulent practices.”
It was reported by USA Today that the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison accused the center of giving “inaccurate and deceptive test result information to Minnesota consumers and have fraudulently reported negative test results to consumers that never completed COVID-19 tests.”
The complaint also stated that the main lab told employees for the Center to “begin falsely post-dating samples, in order to make them appear to be more recent than they actually were, and to continue sending such samples to the lab for processing.”
“If a consumer called multiple times, employees were instructed to falsely tell consumers that the test result had been inconclusive and that they needed to take another test,” concluded the complaint, which meant that the testing center could force insurance to bill for yet another test.