Watch CBS News

Venice-based Sameday Health agrees to pay $26 million to settle allegations they faked hundreds of COVID-19 test results

Venice COVID testing company to pay millions to settle allegations 00:27

A Venice-based COVID-testing chain has agreed to a $26 million settlement to settle allegations that it faked and forged test results, and engaged in false advertising and insurance fraud.

The settlement announced Thursday by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer requires Sameday Health, its CEO Felix Huettenbach, and Los Angeles-based Dr. Jeff Toll to pay nearly $26.5 million, which includes more than $12.4 million in restitution and almost $14 million in civil penalties for their roles in the scam. Sameday Health, Huettenbach, and Toll also agreed to permanent injunctions prohibiting them from again engaging in the unlawful business practices alleged in the complaint, and Huettenbach will no longer be allowed access any test result or medical record of a Sameday Health customer.

"It's beyond outrageous that anyone would falsify COVID tests, as we allege happened here. If you get a negative test, you assume it's safe to go to work, visit family and friends, or take a vacation," Feuer said in a statement. "But the victims of this alleged scheme might unknowingly have spread COVID to others or failed to receive timely and appropriate care themselves."

An example of an allegedly faked COVID-19 test report that Sameday sent to a consumer. (credit: Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer's Office)

A complaint alleged that Sameday Health and its CEO, Felix Huettenbach, falsely advertised they could deliver COVID-19 test results to consumers within 24 hours. When they couldn't deliver on those false promises, they allegedly faked, falsified, and forged test results for at least 500 customers by manipulating old PDF lab reports and results from previous tests. In some cases, the fake results were sent to Sameday Health customers before their tests had been run or even been delivered to a lab, and some customers never had their tests processed by a lab, according the city attorney's office.

Sameday Health and Huettenbach required customers seeking a test to first undergo an unnecessary consultation with Toll if they were paying with insurance, which was then billed approximately $450 for the telehealth visit, according to the complaint. In exchange for steering customers to him, Toll allegedly gave Sameday Health a large portion of his profits from the consultations as a kickback.

Sameday Technologies, which does business as Sameday Health, operates 55 testing locations across the nation, with 16 in Los Angeles County and five in the city of Los Angeles, according to Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.