Terrance Barnard and Connie Jo Clampitt were allegedly busy billing insurance companies for COVID-19 testing from March 2021 to April 2022. During that period, they billed major insurers like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, and Aetna for $7 million in tests. The only problem was, according to a federal indictment, they didn’t actually perform any tests. The labs where the tests occurred? They didn’t exist either, the indictment days.
The flow of federal and state dollars dispersed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been fertile ground for fraud. A CEO was indicted for making claims about procuring COVID-19 tests in the early days of the pandemic, a lab owner pleaded guilty to bundling COVID-19 tests with other medically unnecessary lab tests and billed to Medicare, and scammers are calling Medicare recipients and offering free COVID-19 tests to get their Medicare information to bill it for other services fraudulently.
Bernard and Clampitt allegedly owned several fake diagnostic lab companies with names like TC Diagnostics, ME Diagnostics, and Rhine Enterprises that they used to bill insurance for fraudulent tests. Bernard allegedly used his position as a contract lab technician to obtain patient names, addresses, and insurance information that the two used to bill the insurers.
The indictment says they falsely represented to the insurance companies that they performed COVID-19 tests at the labs (which didn’t exist). They opened bank accounts for the nonexistent labs where the insurance payments were sent, and the two transferred the money from their fake lab company accounts to their personal bank accounts.
According to the indictment, insurance companies reimbursed the lab from $75 to $225 for each fraudulent test. Other times, the two billed insurance companies $350 to $400 for each fake test. The two used the money to purchase real estate and luxury vehicles. If convicted, the two would be forced to give back any money and property made through the scheme.
The indictment lists millions of dollars in several accounts, including a 1965 Ford Mustang, a Ford Shelby GT, a Lexus SUV, and a 22-year-old Pontiac Grand Am. The indictment also lists a home outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, as part of the forfeiture, should the two be convicted. Law enforcement seized $1.5 million during the investigation.
The two face up to ten years in federal prison for each count of healthcare fraud, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, and up to two years in federal prison for each count of aggravated identity theft.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented the most challenging circumstances our healthcare providers and insurers have faced in generations. Schemes to financially exploit the system when providers and insurers are facing these monumental challenges must be dismantled, and those responsible must be held to account,” said U.S. Attorney Leigha Simonton via statement.
The indictment is only an allegation, and Barnard and Clampitt are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court.