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Wilkesboro Lab Operator Pleads Guilty PDF Print
Written by Steve Frank   
Thursday, 25 April 2013 13:55

The former owner of Wilkesboro Clinical Laboratory pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court  for his involvement in a health care fraud scheme in which  he  and  his  company  billed  Medicare  for  services  which  were  not  rendered.  Anne  M.  Tompkins,  U.S.  Attorney  for  the  Western  District of  North  Carolina said  Louis  Francis Curte, 49, also admitted he filed false tax returns from 2007 to 2010.  In a separate civil settlement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office,  Curte also agreed to pay $300,000 to resolve  civil fraud  allegations that he and his  company  violated the  Physician Self Referral Act or “Stark Law.”  Curte appeared before U.S.  Magistrate Judge David  C. Keesler  today  and pleaded guilty to  four  counts  of health care fraud and one count of filing a false tax return.  According to court documents  and today’s plea hearing,  Curte was  the  owner and operator of Wilkesboro Clinical Laboratory,  which  was  enrolled  with  Medicare  to  provide microbiology and other  laboratory services.  Court records show that from  at least 2007 to in or about  2009,  Curte  defrauded  Medicare  by  submitting  false  and  fraudulent  claims  for microbiology services which were never rendered. According  to  the  plea agreement, the intended loss to Medicare by the defendant was between $10,000 and $30,000. At today’s hearing, Curte also pleaded guilty to filing false tax returns for the years 2007 through 2010. According to  filed documents  and court proceedings, Curte filed false tax returns which  substantially  understated  his  gross  income,  and  therefore,  the  tax  owed  to  the  United States.   Court  records  indicate  that  Curte  maintained  false  books  in  an  attempt  to  mask  a prohibited  business  relationship  with  a  physician,  identified  in  court  documents  as  Dr.  T.M. Curte faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the health care fraud charges and a maximum term of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the tax fraud charge.

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