Saturday, June 15, 2024

Kickbacks for urine samples lead to prison for Charlotte businessman

A federal judge sentenced a Charlotte man to 200 months in prison and ordered him to reimburse the government $11.8 million on Tuesday for his part in a Medicaid scam that ran for years.

A jury convicted Donald Booker, 57, in January of multiple charges related to a scheme to defraud the North Carolina Medicaid program of more than $11 million. The scheme involved Booker and his co-conspirators defrauding Medicaid by paying illegal kickbacks in exchange for urine samples from Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries.

At the time, Booker owned United Diagnostic Laboratories, a urine toxicology testing laboratory, and United Youth Care Services, a company that provided mental health and substance abuse treatment services. Trial evidence established that the scam was operational from January 2016 to August 2019, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In December 2022, one of Booker’s co-defendant, Delores Jordan, 55, of Louisville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty for her role in the scheme.

Jordan owned Legacy Housing, a housing provider. Jordan previously admitted in court she and other co-conspirators recruited housing-vulnerable individuals and other Medicaid-eligible beneficiaries for housing and other programs and services. Once enrolled, the beneficiaries were required to submit urine specimens for drug testing as a condition of their participation in the program.

The specimens were provided to Booker’s United Diagnostic Laboratories and United Youth Care Services for medically unnecessary urine drug testing. Booker and his co-conspirators paid the recruiters a kickback from United Your Care Services’ NC Medicaid reimbursement on the drug testing.

Court records show that Booker and Jordan also executed a conspiracy to launder the proceeds of the kickback and healthcare fraud conspiracy in order to conceal and disguise the nature and source the kickback payments for drug testing referrals.

A federal jury convicted Booker of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, multiple violations of the Anti-Kickback Statute, money laundering conspiracy, and money laundering. Jordan has pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing.

“Medicaid is a government-funded program that provides medical services to qualified North Carolinians in need of assistance. It’s not a get-rich-quick money jar for cheats and fraudsters to dip into,” said U.S. Attorney Dena King in a statement.

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