Upstate residents among those charged in multi-million dollar fraud scheme

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Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 8:57 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 16, 2022 at 9:29 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Eight people were indicted by a federal grand jury in Tennessee on charges involving an alleged Medicare and Medicaid fraud conspiracy, including several people from the Upstate of South Carolina.

Mark H. Wildasin, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee, announced the indictments on Monday.

Among those charged was 57-year-old Melissa L. Chastain of Belton, SC, 64-year-old Roger Allison of Greenville, SC, and 28-year-old Dakota White of Easley, SC. All three were charged with health care fraud, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, conspiracy to violate and violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute.

The investigation began in July 2021 when 54-year-old Fadel Alshalabi of Waxhaw, North Carolina, was charged with conspiracy and violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute for leading a fraudulent billing scheme related to genetic testing. According to officials, Alshalabi is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of a series of laboratories based in Spring Hill, Tennessee, called Crestar Labs, LLC (Crestar). On Tuesday, Alshalabi was charged with health care fraud, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, and conspiracy to violate, violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute and money laundering.

Officials said Chastain was the owner and Chief Executive Officer of Genetix LLC, a marketing company that contracted with Crestar. Allison was the president of Genetix and White was the former director of client services and vice president of operations for Crestar.

These recent indictments alleged that the suspects entered into fake contracts and paid kickbacks for genetic testing and urine analysis samples. This tactic included finding elderly patients using the federal health care program to get their genetic material for genetic tests. Officials said the tests were approved by telemedicine doctors who often did not speak to the patients. They added that the patients or their doctors often did not get the results of the tests.

Officials said the suspects paid illegal kickbacks and bribes to get doctor’s orders and tests without medical necessity. From 2016 to July 2021, it is estimated that the suspect billed Medicare and Medicaid over $150 million.

According to officials, all the defendants face up to 10 years in prison on the health care fraud and Anti-Kickback Statute charges. They face up to 5 years on the conspiracy to violate the Anti-Kickback Statute charge.

The other four suspects charged were Edward D. Klapp, 63, of Jupiter, Florida; Robert Alan Richardson, 53, of Silver Spring, Maryland; Edward Burch, 53 of Rockville, Maryland and Samuel Harris, 27, of Salt Lake City, Utah. Klapp and Chastain were also charged in a first superseding indictment in October 2021.