FBI raids headquarters of national Covid testing company

Federal agents execute a search warrant at the Chicago area headquarters of a national pop-up test series called the Centers for COVID Control, a spokesman for the Inspector General of Health and Human Services said Monday.

The FBI assisted in a search of the facility in Rolling Meadows, Ill., according to spokeswoman, Yvonne Gamble. An FBI spokesman confirmed to NBC News that the agency conducted “courtly authorized law enforcement activity in Rolling Meadows” on Saturday.

According to a company spokesperson, the Centers for COVID Control shares the same registered address as a laboratory called Physicians Clinical Laboratories, which has conducted hundreds of thousands of PCR tests using samples collected by the pop-up testing company.

Both pop-up testing company and lab has been investigated by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as well as by various state attorneys general.

People line up to get a free Covid-19 test at a temporary site set up by the Covid Control Center in Santa Fe, NM, on January 3. Sam Wasson / Sipa USA via AP

According to federal filings, the company billed the federal government more than $120 million to test uninsured Americans. USA Today. Emails and phone messages left at the Doctor’s Clinical Laboratory were not returned.

In multiple public documents, the two companies listed the same address at 1685 Winnetka Cir, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008, but a spokesperson for the Centers for COVID Control previously told NBC News that the two companies were separate entities and “no cross-ownership. ”

A spokesperson for the Illinois attorney general confirmed their office is working with federal law enforcement.

“We are working with the FBI and other law enforcement partners and will not comment on ongoing investigations as we work to hold individuals responsible,” a spokesperson said. illegal acts”.

Due to growing complaints, the COVID Control Center halted its business operations on January 13. It was scheduled to reopen some sites around the country on January 22. , search date.

The CEO of the COVID Control Center, Aleya Siyaj, 29, and her husband Ali Syed, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Siyaj and Syed’s previous businesses include a donut shop and an ax throwing business.

The investigations were launched after the company solicited dozens of consumer complaints ranging from late test results to concerns that no testing was performed.

Ryan Jacobson, an attorney for the Smith Amundsen firm hired by the Centers for Covid Control to conduct a review of their business practices, provided NBC News with a statement last week about the ongoing investigations. takes place.

“We are working closely with the authorities to inform and shed light on operational challenges. [Center for COVID Control] Having experienced the peak of the increase in Omicrons, this has certainly contributed to consumer complaints and public scrutiny,” Jacobson said.

The pop-up pilot company grew rapidly in the fall of 2021 and quickly expanded to 300 locations nationwide.

The laboratory and the Center for COVID Control have been under investigation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services since late November when an inspection revealed common violations including failure to label specimens.

The attorneys general of Illinois, Colorado, Minnesota and Oregon have all announced investigations into the company. The Massachusetts Attorney General is reviewing the complaints.

https://www.nbcnews.com/investigations/fbi-searches-headquarters-national-covid-testing-company-rcna13319 FBI raids headquarters of national Covid testing company

Jake Nichol

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