On Friday, it was announced that a former Hershey Medical Center research technologist had been sentenced to prison for making false statements in connection with his performance of flawed genetic diagnostic tests for 124 cancer patients. 62-year-old Floyd Benko of Palmyra, Pennsylvania was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment. The defendant previously worked as a Research Technologist at the Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
He was indicted in July of 2015 and charged with one count of health care fraud and two counts of making false statements in health care matters. In 2013 and 2014, Benko performed DNA gene mutation tests, KRAS gene mutation and BRAF gene mutation for 124 advanced stage cancer patients at the Hershey Medical Center.
These tests are designed to help physicians diagnose the specific type of cancer the patient is facing, so a personalized treatment plan can be assembled. The defendant failed to perform the assays according to Hershey’s standard operating procedures. Retesting of the patients started in summer of 2014. These tests revealed that 60 of the 124 patients had assay results in disagreement with results obtained by two outside laboratories.
The defendant pleaded guilty in July of 2017 to a single count of making false statements in health care matters. He admitted to lying to administrators at the Hershey Medical Center on April 11, 2014 about the manner in which the genetic assays were performed. Benko attempted to hide the fact that he did not follow standard operating procedures. The defendant has also been ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to make restitution in the amount of $69,742 to the Hershey Medical Center.
Floyd Benko has been ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on January 22, 2018. Additional details regarding the case can be found here.