Lab Owner Pockets $83M in COVID Scam
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY…
1783: In an emotional speech in Newburgh, New York, George Washington asks his officers not to support the Newburgh Conspiracy. His plea is successful and the threatened coup d’etat never takes place.
Federal prosecutors have accused a Chicago man of allegedly running a bogus COVID-19 testing lab that sent out made-up results while pocketing millions of taxpayer dollars, which he spend on cars and cryptocurrency.
Authorities have charged Zishan Alvi, 44, with 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of theft of government funds for allegedly scheming to “defraud and to obtain money and property” through false COVID tests between February 2021 and February 2022, according to the federal indictment. Prosecutors say the company raked in $83.5 million from the federal government within that time.
Alvi allegedly told employees to give customers negative results without even testing their samples at the height of the Omicron surge, prosecutors said.
From Block Club Chicago:
Alvi’s lab sought reimbursement from the federal government for tests Alvi knew had not been performed, for tests the lab had “modified” so the results weren’t reliable and for tests already paid for by customers, prosecutors said.
Alvi told workers to give customers negative test results, despite knowing that they’d actually been tossed out and not tested, according to the indictment. Workers “eventually” completed the tests, but when the found positive results, they didn’t inform customers — since they’d already given them false negatives, prosecutors said.
In the indictment, federal prosecutors call for Alvi to forfeit the property from the alleged crimes if he’s convicted — up to $83.5 million.
When federal authorities seized Alvi’s accounts in Feb. 2022, he had more than $6.8 million in his personal bank account, roughly $810,000 in an E*Trade account, about $500,000 in an investments account, and more than $245,000 in a Coinbase account, prosecutors said. He also allegedly used the fraudulent funds to purchase several luxury cars: a 2021 Mercedes-Benz, a 2021 Range Rover, a 2021 Lamborghini Urus, a 2021 Bentley, and a 2022 Tesla.
Alvi faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and 10 years for the theft charge.
Source: Block Club Chicago