Judge sides with AIDS Healthcare Foundation, dismisses suit

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — A judge has ruled in favor of one of the nation’s largest suppliers of HIV and AIDS medical care, clearing the company of wrongdoing in an alleged $20 million scam to bilk the federal government.

According to a federal lawsuit in 2014, three former managers of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation said the company paid employees and patients kickbacks for patient referrals. Employees were paid $100 for referring patients with positive tests to its clinics and pharmacies.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams ruled in a decision unsealed this week that bonus payments made by the foundation to coordinators who directed patients to AIDS Healthcare were not subject to a 1972 law aimed at stopping unethical referrals because they fall under the statute’s employee safe harbor provision.