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Former research technologist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center charged with health care fraud

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DERRY TOWNSHIP, Pa.--A former research technologist at Penn State Hershey Medical Center was charged Friday--accused of performing flawed genetic diagnostic tests on 124 cancer patients in 2013 and 2014.

Floyd Benko, 60, of Palmyra,  is charged with one count of health care fraud and two counts of false statements in health care matters.

Benko surrendered to authorities Friday and was later released. Benko  performed gene mutation tests for 124 advanced stage cancer patients at the medical center in 2013 and 2014, according to the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Investigators allege Benko did not perform the tests according to the medical center's standard operating procedures.

These tests are performed after a patient has been diagnosed with cancer – sometimes with advanced stage cancer – to help determine potential treatment options.

Further retesting of the patients revealed that 60 of the 124 patients had results that varied from results obtained by an outside laboratory.

Benko is accused of lying to hospital administrators about how he conducted the analysis in two written statements he provided the hospital in April and October of 2014. Benko also failed to disclose and hit the fact he did not follow the hospital's standard operating procedures by failing to preserve the patients' leftover tissue and DNA samples, authorities said.

Benko resigned from his position at Penn State Hershey Medical Center in April 2014. A trial has been tentatively scheduled for Sept. 14 before U.S. District Court Judge Yvette Kane.

All patients who had contradictory test results have been notified by the hospital. Patients seeking further information concerning the flawed tests should contact Hershey Medical Center's Chief Medical Officer at 717-531-4595.