ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. – The FBI descended upon the headquarters of a COVID-19 testing company accused of providing false or deceptive test results. Federal agents searched the premises of the Illinois based business on Saturday, according to reports.
The federal government has disbursed more than $124 million to the Center for COVID Control for conducting COVID-19 tests, according to The Hill. Yet they’ve recently become the target of several states and now the federal government after complaints have been filed.
At its peak, the Center for COVID Control gathered more than 80,000 tests per day from over 300 locations scattered across 26 states, Western Journal reported.
However, many states became suspicious of the company, whose founder Aleya Siyaj, 29, had previously started an ax-throwing lounge and a donut shop, according to NBC News.
Siyaj and her husband, Akbar Syed, reportedly brag about their wealthy lifestyle regularly on social media, The Hill reported. Their photos included two Lamborghinis, a Ferrari and a mansion valued at $1.36 million.
The Oregon Department of Justice and the Illinois attorney general opened civil investigations into the company, while authorities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Washington and California each shut down some or all of the company’s test sites in their states, NBC News reported.
Spokeswoman Annie Thompson from the Illinois AG’s Office told USA Today their state “is absolutely committed to protecting residents from those who attempt to profit off of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic.”
Moreover, the State of Minnesota filed a lawsuit against the company due to numerous complaints and irregularities, Western Journal reported.
“Most disturbingly, Defendants have sometimes fraudulently represented that Minnesota consumers have tested negative for COVID-19, despite the consumer never having submitted a sample for Defendants to be tested,” the lawsuit states.
A resident in Oregon said the company failed to provide results despite providing them with drivers license and insurance information.
“I trusted that any entity that was engaged in this operation was doing so in good faith,” Kelly Fisher told NBC. “Since then, I’ve only gotten tested at my medical provider’s office.”
The scandal hit a new high with the FBI raid on Saturday at the company’s headquarters in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, which FBI Chicago spokesperson Siobhan Johnson described as “court-authorized law enforcement activity,” USA Today reported.
A representative for the Center for COVID Control provided a statement to USA Today, saying the company had spent the past few weeks “in communication with a number of regulatory and law enforcement agencies regarding the company’s operations.”
The statement confirmed on Saturday that “federal law enforcement agents executed a search warrant at the company’s main office as part of what appears to be a similar investigation.”
The company promised to “fully cooperate with all government inquiries, and remains committed to providing the best service possible to our patients,” according to their statement.