Texas man pleads guilty to COVID-19 testing fraud scheme resulting in $7 million loss

A North Texas man pleaded guilty to submitting fraudulent insurance claims for COVID-19 testing, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Leigha Simonton said in a news release Thursday.

Terrance Barnard, 40, of Irving, was indicted in December and pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit health care fraud that resulted in a $7 million loss to insurers. He also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting aggravated identity theft.

Barnard admitted that he and his co-conspirators accessed private information about patients through various clinics where Barnard worked as a contract lab technician, according to plea papers.

He also admitted he occasionally took photos of patient information and stored the photos on burner phones. On other occasions, Barnard and a co-conspirator accessed the clinics’ confidential electronic medical records to collect “large amounts” of patient information, according to the release.

Barnard and his co-conspirators used the patient information to submit claims to insurance providers for COVID-19 testing that was never performed, according to the release.

He also admitted that the labs where the co-conspirators claimed the testing occurred — including TC Diagnostics, ME Diagnostics and PHR Diagnostics — were shell entities that never operated as labs.

The three entities collectively submitted $30 million in claims and were paid more than $7 million in reimbursements for fake testing, Simonton said in the release.

Barnard faces up to seven years in federal prison. He has agreed to a $7.3 million forfeiture judgment and will forfeit items seized in the investigation, including $2.5 million from numerous bank accounts, two residences and six vehicles, according to the plea agreement.

Connie Jo Clampitt, 52; William Paul Gray, 50; and Donn Hogg, 37, were also charged in the fraudulent scheme. Clampitt, Hogg and Gray have each pleaded guilty and are scheduled to be sentenced in November.