Owner of Winnipeg company charged with fraud for allegedly faking truck drivers' drug tests
Precision Health was also conducting drug and alcohol tests for Winnipeg Transit, court documents say
A Winnipeg woman is facing fraud and forgery charges after a police investigation into allegations her company fabricated drug test results for Canadian truck drivers who travel to the United States.
Precision Health Ltd. was hired by Manitoba trucking companies to collect urine samples from drivers and then have the samples tested at a laboratory.
But in search warrant documents filed in the Provincial Court of Manitoba last month, Winnipeg police allege that for nearly a year and a half the tests were never done, yet Precision continued to issue reports as if they had been.
Company owner Colleen Faye Robinson, 54, is charged with fraud over $5,000, forgery and using a forged document, Winnipeg Police Service said Wednesday.
Police allege Precision carried out the fraudulent activities from May 2017 until police executed a warrant at the company's office last month.
"It's a problem," said Dwight Barkman, owner of Barkman Transport, one of 32 trucking companies police allege received fabricated test results. "You expect honesty and integrity from the people you do business with."
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires commercial truck drivers to pass drug and alcohol screening tests before they travel to the United States.
Those truck drivers have their urine tested before they are hired, and then are randomly selected to be tested throughout their employment.
'A huge liability for your insurance company'
Barkman said Precision is one of a handful of Manitoba companies that facilitate those tests. His firm worked with Precision for 20 years but ended that relationship earlier this year, after police called to say the urine samples were never tested and the negative results they received were allegedly fabricated.
Barkman said if a driver was involved in a crash in the U.S., and was found to have drugs or alcohol in their system, the company could be on the hook.
"They could have an accident and kill somebody ... that could be a huge liability for your insurance company, for the company and everybody involved," Barkman said.
"It could take you right out of business."
Fraud and forgery allegations
Police executed a search warrant on Precision Health Ltd. on Sept. 6 at the company's Dublin Avenue office in Winnipeg. In what's called an "information to obtain" a search warrant, police outlined their case to a judge for authorization to enter the business.
In it, police said Precision collected urine samples from Manitoba truck drivers and sent them to Quest Diagnostics — a lab in the U.S. — for testing. The lab results were then sent to a different company in Barrie, Ont. called Acculab. There, a Canadian doctor — known as a medical review officer (MRO) — would analyze and review the results and write a report. Precision would take that report to the trucking company and charge $80 for its role in facilitating the tests.
Police allege that all changed in May 2017, after Quest suspended Precision's account because the bill hadn't been paid. Despite that, police allege Precision acted as if nothing had changed.
"I believe that Precision is collecting urine samples from their client's drivers, charging them accordingly, then failing to have the samples tested and then issuing MRO reports indicating the results have been analyzed by a MRO," a police officer wrote in the court documents.
Police allege Precision was fabricating those reports.
"The investigation has revealed that Precision issued fabricated MRO reports to at least thirty-two trucking companies for ninety-one samples that were collected and never tested," the search warrant documents said.
Police said the number of forged MRO reports that had not yet been discovered could total several hundred.
The police allegations have not been proven in court. Precision's owner, Colleen Robinson, did not return calls from CBC News. Police say they are still investigating the matter and have not said publicly whether charges will be laid against Robinson.
Precision Health tested Winnipeg Transit drivers
The company also does drug testing for the City of Winnipeg, including for transit drivers.
The city said it has been using Precision Health for approximately 10 years and has paid the company more than $3,000 since 2017.
"In circumstances when there is reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol impairment and the City of Winnipeg employee poses a safety risk or has been involved in an incident, substance testing can be used as part of an investigation," a spokesperson for the city said in an e-mail, adding the city doesn't conduct random testing.
"When the City of Winnipeg first started to use Precision Health, it was the only provider in the city with the necessary credentials. The City has continued to use Precision Health because it has been satisfied with the level of service provided," the spokesperson said.
During the search of Precision's offices, investigators seized paperwork for drug and alcohol testing done for Winnipeg Transit. Police allege those records indicate Quest labs had done the testing "during the time period that police have confirmed Quest did not actually test any samples."
Previous fraud conviction
In December 2011, Precision's owner, Robinson, pleaded guilty to fraud over $5,000 in a case involving CN Rail.
She admitted to conducting employment medical exams for CN between 2008 and 2010 and signing off with a doctor's name when in fact a nurse had done the work.
Robinson was ordered to pay CN more than $14,000 in restitution, and subsequently lost her licensed practical nursing certification.
A CN spokesperson says the railway stopped working with Precision in 2011.
Precision's legal trouble didn't end there.
In 2013, the Manitoba government sued Robinson and Precision, alleging they misrepresented numerous electronic billing claims.
In a statement of claim, the province said Manitoba Health paid the company $21,107.25 for physician services but later learned patients were seen instead by registered nurses employed by Precision — which is not covered by Manitoba Health.
A spokesperson for Manitoba Health told CBC News the matter "was resolved without going to court" but wouldn't provide any more details.
Barkman said when he heard Precision hadn't tested samples collected from his truck drivers, he called the lab directly, after Robinson denied there was a problem.
The lab told him the samples were still in the fridge and had not been tested.
Barkman has since moved his business to another company and estimates he's lost about $1,000 having the tests redone. He doesn't expect to recoup any of the money, but has no ill will toward Robinson.
"Now that it's in the open it should be taken care of, and it's done," he said.
- An earlier version of this story said police allege Precision carried out the fraudulent activities from October 2017 until police executed a warrant at the company's office last month. In fact, police allege the activities began in May 2017.Oct 10, 2018 4:21 PM CT