Baton Rouge lab owner charged in alleged $15M scheme to commit health care fraud

The owner of a Baton Rouge-based clinical laboratory was charged in an alleged $15 million scheme to commit health care fraud, defraud the U.S. government, and to pay and receive health care kickbacks.

That’s according to the Department of Justice, which today announced criminal charges against 14 defendants in seven federal districts across the U.S. for their alleged participation in various health care fraud schemes that exploited the COVID-19 pandemic and resulted in over $143 million in false billings.

Malena Lepetich of Belle Chasse, who owns MedLogic LLC in Baton Rouge, allegedly solicited and received kickbacks in exchange for referrals of urine specimens for medically unnecessary testing, according to the DOJ. Lepetich is also accused of offering to pay kickbacks for referrals of specimens for COVID-19 and respiratory pathogen testing.

Additionally, Lepetich allegedly caused the submission of over $10 million in claims to Medicare, Medicaid and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana for panels of expensive respiratory testing that was medically unnecessary.

The case is being prosecuted by trial attorney Justin M. Woodard of the Gulf Coast Strike Force and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristen Craig of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana.