Germany raids Covid-19 testing centers for fraud
According to the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, prosecutors raided a company in Bochum on Friday, while prosecutors in Luebeck have begun a fraud investigation, according to the WirtschaftsWoche monthly.
Authorities in Cologne conducted a surprise inspection of a testing center, and the city of Munster canceled the license of a firm that manages 50 testing sites.
The German government made testing free a few weeks ago in an effort to improve Covid-19 testing, reimbursing companies up to 18 euros ($22) for each test completed.
However, according to a collaborative investigation by various media outlets, testing centers are not required to provide any documentation to substantiate how many people they've examined when applying for government pay, and some have been exaggerating the numbers.
"They just have to send the number of tests (carried out), without any proof, and they are wired the money soon after," according to a joint investigation by NDR and WDR public television and Suddeutsche Zeitung.
Journalists counted the number of persons who visited the testing sites as part of the initiative, then compared the statistics to what the businesses gave to the government in order to be reimbursed.
According to the research, one center reported 422 tests despite the fact that only about 100 persons had arrived.
Another claimed compensation for 1,743 tests performed in a single day, despite the fact that only 550 patients had shown up.
Since the government created the free plan, the number of locations giving free Covid-19 tests has exploded: there are now approximately 8,000 in North Rhine-Westphalia, with at least 1,200 in Berlin.