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A chain of Chicago-based COVID-19 testing site chain with the official-sounding name of the Center for COVID Control has reportedly told every single customer that they are negative for the coronavirus, according to local news publication Block Club Chicago.
Federal agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Illinois Department of Public Health, are now investigating the company, which operates 300 locations nationwide — forcing it to shut its doors temporarily under the pressure.
The Better Business Bureau is also looking into complaints, and has given the company its lowest possible rating: an “F.”
If the allegations hold up, it’s an incredibly troubling example of individuals taking advantage of a huge amount of federal funds being poured into COVID testing nationwide.
“Regrettably, due to our rapid growth and the unprecedented recent demand for testing, we haven’t been able to meet all our commitments,” CEO Aleya Siyaj said in a remarkable understatement obtained by Block Club Chicago.
“We’ve made this difficult decision to temporarily pause all operations, until we are confident that all collection sites are meeting our high standards for quality,” he continued.
According to Block Club Chicago, people going to the company’s various sites have reported that they tested negative only to find out they were positive through a different test elsewhere. Others said they got their results far too late to be useful.
Many customers were emailed a QR code that took them to a website that appeared to tell every single visitor that they had tested negative.
Meanwhile, Siyaj’s husband Akbar Syed, who before the pandemic had been an entrepreneur of — we kid you not — axe throwing facilities, started posting on social media about his brand new luxury sports car, paid for using what he called “COVID money,” the publication reports.
“My axe throwing lounges were forced shut by the gov due to COVID,” Syed wrote in a comment of an August 17 post on TikTok. The account has since been taken down.
“About three weeks ago, we decided we were gonna stop PCR testing because of just the overwhelming amount of tests that were coming in,” Syed said in a January 6 YouTube video.
Again, the video was taken down, according to Block Club Chicago.
The Center for COVID Control evidently didn’t have enough resources to deal with the onslaught of testing. Inspectors found that many tubes of samples were not labeled at all or were missing entirely.
Was it all a massive government reimbursement scam, absorbing federal funds to carry out testing? That’s looking increasingly likely in light of this report.
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