First lawsuit brought by the Attorney General involving a COVID-19 testing center
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today sued the Center for Covid Control (CCC) and its testing partner, Doctors Clinical Laboratory (DCL), for deceptively marketing testing services and for violating Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act. The lawsuit alleges CCC and DCL falsely told consumers they could provide accurate PCR COVID-19 results within 24-72 hours of testing. In reality, they produced questionable test results — and lacked proper capacity to store and process the thousands of test specimens they received each day. CCC is an Illinois-based company that administered five COVID-19 testing sites in Oregon.
“These companies were ill-equipped to scale up as fast as they did,” said Attorney General Rosenblum. In less than a year, CCC grew from one testing site in Illinois to become one of the largest testing center operators in the country.
“They advertised quick and accurate test results,” Rosenblum said, “and people put their faith in them — during a time when testing for COVID-19 was in high demand. As a result, Oregonians made crucial decisions — about returning to work or school, travel, and visiting family and friends — in reliance on shoddy tests.”
Rosenblum’s lawsuit was filed in Multnomah County. It asks that CCC and DCL be banned permanently from offering COVID-19 testing in Oregon. The lawsuit also asks for restitution for Oregonians who were victimized, as well as for state civil penalties. “We must make sure they never do business in our state again. The same holds for any other company trying to make a quick buck here from a public health crisis,” Rosenblum added.
The lawsuit alleges that instead of pausing sample collections or increasing testing capacity to meet demand, Aleya Siyaj and Akbar Ali Syed, the married couple who own CCC, funnelled millions of dollars received from the federal government and insurance companies for testing to themselves. Syed brazenly posted pictures of the couple’s purchases on social media. These included a $1,360,000 mansion as well as luxury cars worth millions — including a sky blue Lamborghini, a red Lamborghini Countach, a Tesla Model Y, and a Ferrari Enzo.
In addition to not having the necessary tools to process the test samples, the lawsuit alleges the company failed to educate employees adequately on proper test specimen collection techniques. On top of that, specimens were tested in a manner inconsistent with test manufacturers’ instructions as well as the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization. This resulted in potentially inaccurate results. The key allegation in the lawsuit is that these companies violated Oregon’s Unlawful Trade Practices Act by advertising accurate COVID-19 testing while knowing that by failing to properly handle, store, and process the specimens, the results were of questionable validity.
Since October 2021 the Oregon Department of Justice has received 30 complaints about the company. It opened a civil investigation in January.
Read full complaint here: https://www.doj.state.or.us/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/CCC_DCL_Complaint_2022-04-07.pdf