A Chicago-based COVID-19 testing company that operates pop-up testing sites around the country is the subject of a federal investigation. An FBI spokesperson confirmed they had raided the headquarters to NBC News.
The agency conducted “court-authorized law enforcement activity in Rolling Meadows” a suburban area just outside of Chicago, on Saturday. The company, Center for COVID Control, runs 320 testing locations in 22 states.
Dozens of complaints about the company have emerged, ranging from missing results to inaccurate results and questionable billing practices, which “led some states to launch formal inquiries amidst calls for greater transparency on how the business operates” reports NBC 5 Chicago.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul said in a statement, “I opened an investigation into the Center for COVID Control in response to our residents contacting my office to report a number of concerning issues at the Center for COVID Control’s pop-up COVID-19 testing locations throughout Illinois.”
“Complaints have ranged from testing results being delayed or not received at all, to results being provided to individuals who were never administered a test, to tests being stored improperly, and staff incorrectly using PPE and face masks.”
NBC Chicago reports the Minnesota AG’s office filed a lawsuit last week against the company and its lab, Doctors Clinical Laboratory, accusing them of fraud, deception and false advertising.
Additionally, Chicago’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) said it has been actively looking into an “influx” of complaints. BBB spokesperson Thomas Johnson said, “Center for Covid Control has the lowest grade th3e BBB gives” which is an F-rating.
Fraudulent activity is “What happens when you have an unregulated industry,” says Nino Perrotta, former Secret Service agent and President of Sequoia Security Group based outside of Washington, D.C.
“The experts in fraud and organized crime are given the opportunity for a feeding frenzy that is created from the regulatory void” adds Perrotta.
“The issues that we are seeing with the Covid test sites remind me of the mid-90s where there was a spike in fraud-related prepaid calling cards. At that time the telecommunications industry was miles ahead of any regulations or laws designed to protect the consumer from fly-by-night companies that sold below market international calling rates.”