A former staffer at Penn State Hershey Medical Center has admitted to lying about genetic cancer tests he performed for 124 patients, the Associated Press reports. Penn Live adds that the gene mutation tests were sought to guide the treatment of patients with advanced-stage cancer.
The research technologist, Floyd Benko, pleaded guilty to making false statements, the AP adds. US Attorney Bruce Brandler tells Penn Live that Benko did not perform certain mandatory steps in the testing process and lied about it to administrators. Re-testing by an outside lab found errors in 60 of the tests he conducted, it adds. Re-testing cost Penn almost $70,000.
The testing errors were uncovered when a clinician became suspicious about a patient's results not matching the clinical profile, Penn Live says. That triggered an internal review and then the notification of law enforcement, according to the Central Penn Business Journal. Benko's arrest, Penn Live adds, comes as part of a probe conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The tests were performed in 2013 and 2014.
Penn Live says that Benko is to pay $70,000 in restitution and that sentencing guidelines call for up to a year and a half in prison, but his sentencing date has yet to be set.