IRVING, Texas — Editor's note: The video published above is a WFAA interview with a medical expert after the CDC recommends a new COVID-19 booster vaccine.
An Irving man has pleaded guilty alongside three coconspirators as part of a $7 million COVID-19 testing fraud scheme, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.
The DOJ said Terrance Barnard, 40, was indicted in December 2022 for Conspiracy to Commit Health Care Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft and Aiding and Abetting Aggravated Identity Theft. Barnard pleaded guilty to those charges on Thursday.
Barnard, according to plea papers, admitted that he and his coconspirators accessed private patient information – including names, dates of birth, and insurance subscriber numbers – through various clinics where Barnard worked as a contract lab technician.
Barnard said that, on occasion, he took photographs of patient information and stored the images on “burner” phones. On other occasions, he and a coconspirator accessed the clinics’ confidential electronic medical records to obtain large amounts of patient information at once, DOJ officials said.
Barnard and his coconspirators then used the patient information to submit claims to insurance providers – including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, United Healthcare, Aetna, Humana, and Molina Health Care – for COVID-19 testing that was never performed.
Barnard admitted that the “labs” at which the coconspirators claimed the testing occurred, including TC Diagnostics, ME Diagnostics, and PHR Diagnostics, were, in fact, shell entities that never operated as labs. All three entities submitted approximately $30 million in claims and were paid more than $7 million in reimbursements for fake testing, DOJ officials said.
According to the terms of his plea agreement, Barnard has agreed to a $7.29 million forfeiture money judgment and will forfeit a number of items seized during the investigation, including $2.5 million in funds from numerous bank accounts, two residences, six vehicles and six luxury watches.
Barnard's three coconspirators were identified as Connie Jo Clampitt, 52; William Paul Gray, 50; and Donn Hogg, 37. Clampitt, Hogg and Gray have each pled guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced in November 2023.
Barnard now faces up to seven years in federal prison.
More Texas headlines: