N.J. Man Charged With Luring Seniors in $1M DNA Test Scheme

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By Leslie A. Pappas

Dec. 2 — A New Jersey man has been charged with one count of health-care fraud for duping hundreds of seniors citizens into unnecessary genetic testing that defrauded the Medicare program of more than $1 million, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey announced Dec. 2.

Seth Rehfuss of Somerset, N.J., carried out the scheme from July 2014 until the present, according to the criminal complaint filed Dec. 1 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

According to the complaint, Rehfuss used a nonprofit he created, The Good Samaritans of America, to gain access to low-income senior housing complexes, where he gave presentations to convince residents to submit to genetic testing.

Rehfuss allegedly offered free ice cream to boost attendance and used scare tactics in his sales pitches, suggesting that residents would be more vulnerable to heart attacks, strokes, cancer or suicide without getting a genetic test that would allow them to receive “personalized medicine,” the complaint said.

Rehfuss took DNA swabs in community rooms after the presentations or visited residents in their homes later, gathering DNA samples without involving physicians, the complaint said. To make the tests appear medically necessary, Rehfuss paid multiple health-care providers thousands of dollars per month to sign requisition forms that the labs needed to carry out the testing.

Prosecutors said Rehfuss and his cohorts were actively working to expand the scheme to Georgia, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Michigan, Mississippi, Florida and Arizona. The scheme resulted in Medicare paying more than $1 million to two laboratories for unnecessary genetic testing, the complaint said.

Bloomberg BNA left a voice-mail message Dec. 2 at the nonprofit's office; the call wasn't returned.

The charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie A. Pappas in Philadelphia at lpappas@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Lee Barnes at lbarnes@bna.com

The complaint is at http://src.bna.com/blu.