Drug testing company owner pleads guilty to fraudulent MRO reports

| 3/16/2010

A drug testing company operator has pleaded guilty to wire fraud after an investigation showed he faked having a medical review officer, or MRO, on staff and even downgraded positive drug testing results to negative as part of a money-making scheme.

Michael R. Bennett has pleaded guilty to three counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements after an investigation showed he fraudulently reviewed drug test results without having the authority to do so. Bennett operated Workplace Compliance Inc. of North Carolina, which court documents state was contracted by two Texas-based motor carriers to oversee federally required drug testing.

“The investigation revealed that between 2005 and 2009, Mr. Bennett obtained lab test results and used computer software to generate fraudulent MRO reports,” the U.S. DOT Office of Inspector General stated in a summary.

“These reports claimed that an MRO had verified the lab test results and that the report was in compliance with the DOT’s regulations of transportation workplace drug and alcohol testing programs.”

Medical review officers are licensed physicians trained in substance abuse and are responsible for receiving and reviewing laboratory tests and for evaluating medical explanations for certain drug test results.

Bennett is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 5.

– by Charlie Morasch, staff writer