CHICAGO – Zishan Alvi, the founder of Laboratory Elite, a Chicago-based COVID-19 testing lab, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud and theft of government funds.
Alvi, 44, allegedly fraudulently obtained over $83 million in federal funds by making false claims about COVID-19 testing services provided by his company, according to the indictment.
The charges allege that Alvi instructed his employees to use less materials in PCR tests, which made the results unreliable.
PCR tests, which are the gold standard for diagnosing infectious diseases, including COVID-19, detect genetic material from a pathogen by amplifying a specific segment of genetic material in a sample. Samples are taken from the respiratory tract using a swab and sent to a lab for processing.
The indictment further alleges that Alvi transferred the fraudulently obtained funds to a personal bank account worth $6.8 million at the time of seizure, to purchase luxury cars including a 2021 Lamborghini Urus, a 2021 Bentley Bentayga, and a 2022 Tesla X. Seizures included a total of $1.5 million from E*Trade, Fidelity, and Coinbase accounts.
If found guilty, Alvi could face up to 20 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud and up to 10 years for theft of government funds.