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Varanise Booker

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Kentucky Psychiatrist Pleads Guilty to Health Care Fraud Related to Referrals for Drug Testing at Greensburg, PA Lab

PITTSBURGH – A resident of Louisville, Kentucky, pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of health care fraud, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

Varanise C. Booker, 66, pleaded guilty to one count before Senior United States District Judge David S. Cercone.

In connection with her guilty plea, the defendant admitted that she was a licensed psychiatrist who operated a medical practice, Family and Children Behavioral Health Services, in Louisville, Kentucky. Between approximately October 2011 and August 2013, the defendant further admitted that she referred patients for drug testing and related services performed by Universal Oral Fluid Labs (“UOFL”), a clinical drug testing and drug screening laboratory located in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The court was further advised that the defendant engaged in health care fraud by causing UOFL to bill the Kentucky Medicaid program for testing based on referrals that were outside the ordinary course of professional practice and not for a legitimate medical purpose. Specifically, the defendant acknowledged that she did not document a legitimate justification for ordering certain drug tests and services, failed to document the results of certain drug tests and services performed by UOFL in her medical files, and failed to address the results of certain drug tests and services in the treatment of her patients. The defendant further admitted that she caused UOFL to pay her a certain portion of the reimbursements the laboratory received from Kentucky Medicaid in connection with her referral of unlawful drug tests and related services. As a result, the defendant caused losses to Kentucky Medicaid of more than $15,000 but not more than $40,000.

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 10, 2022. The law provides for a total sentence of not more than 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Eric G. Olshan is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, and Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General Medicaid Fraud Control Section conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Booker.