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Law and Justice

Oregon sues Covid-19 testing company that allegedly stored samples in garbage bags

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Oregon has joined the list of states suing a pair of Illinois businesses that allegedly provided inaccurate covid-19 tests while funneling money to the owners.

Oregon has joined the list of states suing a pair of Illinois businesses that allegedly provided inaccurate COVID-19 tests.

The suit alleges that the Center for Covid Control LLC and Doctors Clinical Laboratory, Inc. falsely represented themselves as qualified to conduct COVID-19 testing and violated Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

The lawsuit alleges that the married couple who own the Center for Covid Control funneled money from the testing operation to themselves. One of the owners, Akbar Ali Syded, reportedly spent millions on multiple luxury cars, including two Lamborghinis, a Tesla Model Y and a Ferrari Enzo.

At one point, the Center for Covid Control had five testing sites in Oregon.

The owners did not have a background in lab work and previously ran an axe-throwing lounge and photo studio, according to the lawsuit.

Nevertheless, the Center for Covid Control grew rapidly, striking up a partnership with Doctors Clinical Laboratory. The companies opened 300 testing sites across the country, and advertised PCR test results within 24 to 72 hours, attorneys for the state said.

Last November, federal regulators with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services visited the Illinois lab and found unacceptable conditions.

The lab didn’t have refrigerators or freezers. Samples were stored in piles of trash bags and shipping boxes, according to the lawsuit.

In Oregon, the lab reportedly didn’t notify the Oregon Health Authority most weeks when people tested positive for COVID-19.

The Oregon Department of Justice is seeking civil penalties and restitution for consumers who took the tests.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum began her investigation after multiple citizen complaints and media reports about questionable test handling by the Center for Covid Control.

Washington and Minnesota have also filed suits.

OPB attempted to reach the companies for comment, but the Doctor’s Clinical Laboratory, Inc website lists a non-working number as its contact.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.