The Center for COVID Control allegedly stored tests in garbage bags for more than a week, instead of properly refrigerating them, among other “unlawful practices”.
The Illinois-based testing company with at least 13 sites in Washington, faked or delayed test results (or provided none at all), lied to patients and failed to properly store test samples.
Syed and Siyaj, who are married, co-founded the testing company and live in Illinois, according to the suit.
The company had been operating in Washington since October.
Locations in Seattle, Bellevue, Tacoma, Lakewood, University Place, Auburn, Lynnwood, Everett, Port Orchard and Yakima promised free test results within 15 minutes for a rapid test and within 48 hours for a more sensitive PCR test.
For several weeks customers throughout the country have been complaining about delayed or missing test results.
Health authorities in several states, including California and Illinois, are launching investigations into the company.
According to Ferguson’s office, the company didn’t have a license to operate a business anywhere in Washington except Yakima.
One former Illinois-based employee of the Center for COVID Control reported to Ferguson’s office that they quit after seeing that “trash bags of tests piled up and their team was instructed to lie to patients on a daily basis”.
As the company fell further behind on processing samples, the statement said, they were “flooded” with calls asking about results — leading to several hours long wait times.
As of Monday, the company had also billed the federal government $124 million for tests for “uninsured” patients.
Employees were instructed to mark patients as ‘uninsured’ if the patient didn’t provide their insurance information by the time of testing or if their insurance company wasn’t listed on the company’s data entry form.
The lawsuit asks the court to order the Center for COVID Control to pay civil penalties of up to $12,500 per violation of the Consumer Protection Act and relinquish any profits the company made from its “unlawful conduct,” in addition to closing all locations.