Averhealth, a drug testing company used by courts around the country to decide whether people go to jail or parents retain custody of their children, was under investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for fraud in 2022, according to emails reviewed by VICE News.
Averhealth runs millions of drug tests a year, working with courts and government agencies in 34 states. The DOJ was looking into the company as early as June 2021, according to emails between the DOJ and Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services, (MDHHS), one of the state agencies that contracted with Averhealth. The investigation was still active as of March 2022. The probe led Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services to stop doing business with Averhealth, according to an internal email at the department.
The DOJ investigation gathered information about court testimony, given by Averhealth’s former lab director Sarah Riley in 2021, that up to 30 percent of the results reported to the state of Michigan’s child welfare agency were wrong, both false positives or false negatives. As VICE News previously reported, Riley testified Averhealth was botching the quality controls that ensure lab instruments are properly calibrated. The company denies those claims.
The DOJ would not comment on the investigation, including whether it was concluded or ongoing. Neither would Averhealth.