Mark Schena misrepresented the company’s value to investors and defrauded public and private insurers
A US jury has convicted biochemist Mark Schena of nine fraud charges related to how he ran medical technology company Arrayit. He faces a maximum prison term of more than 100 years and is scheduled to be sentenced on 30 January, 2023.
Schena defrauded investors in Arrayit by claiming that he had invented revolutionary technology to test for virtually any disease using only a few drops of blood, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed earlier this month. He and his publicist also told investors that he was the ‘father of microarray technology’ and asserted incorrectly that he was shortlisted for the Nobel prize.
Further, Schena misrepresented the company’s value and falsely claimed that Arrayit had lucrative partnerships with companies, government agencies and public institutions. In reality, such arrangements either never existed or were of minimal value, the DOJ said.
At the heart of Schena’s conviction was a scheme that falsely claimed Arrayit’s test could diagnose allergies, paid kickbacks to secure access to patient samples, and submitted fraudulent claims to both commercial and state insurance providers for unnecessary allergy testing.
When the Covid-19 pandemic caused a dip in demand for allergy tests, Arrayit responded by asserting that it had an effective test for Sars-CoV-2, which Schena falsely claimed was more accurate than a PCR test for diagnosing infections. But the announcement came before the company had developed such technology.
The case has some parallels with failed blood-testing startup Theranos, whose leaders – Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh ‘Sunny’ Balwani – were each convicted of multiple counts of fraud earlier this year.