Center for Covid Control headquarters raided by the FBI, SWFL leaders have questions

Published: January 24, 2022 12:30 PM EST
Updated: January 25, 2022 4:50 AM EST

The FBI has raided the Center for Covid Control’s headquarters in Illinois. WINK News has been investigating the company’s practices here in Southwest Florida for the past couple of weeks.

An FBI spokesperson confirmed to WINK News that agents conducted “court-authorized law enforcement activity in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.” That is where the Center for Covid Control maintains its headquarters.

The spokesperson would not share the reason for the raid.

The FBI raid comes two weeks after WINK News began its investigation into the Center for Covid Control at the test site in Bonita Springs that sent people results before they actually took the test. The person who claimed to run that location blamed a computer glitch for the mistakes.

There were two other Center for Covid Control locations in Southwest Florida. One was in Cape Coral and the other was at the Edison Mall.

On Saturday, WINK News found all three sites shut down.

In Bonita Springs, FPL shut off the electricity for non-payment. At the Edison mall, the city of Fort Myers put a sign saying, “You cannot open until you have a business tax receipt,” and in Cape Coral, the company appears to have moved out.

For weeks, WINK News witnessed the site do business. The first week of January saw car after car waiting in line. The manager of the Edison Mall testing location said the site opened in October and did business for two months and 24 days until the company put operations on pause on Jan. 14.

On Monday, WINK News spoke to the City of Fort Myers public information officer and asked her how a business could be open for so long without a business tax receipt.

She said she was under the impression the Center for Covid Control wasn’t open for that long.

WINK News reached out to Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson, who said a code violation is not all that uncommon. “In this case, my guess is that they saw this story, and they did the research and saw that it didn’t have they didn’t have the BTR (business tax receipt), and they went and issued the citation.”

Anderson said, “anytime we have a business that is operating in the city, and they don’t seem to be operating in accordance with the industry standards, that is a concern. I mean, we’re talking about people’s health and safety.”

Anderson said he’s very concerned about the news of the FBI raiding the Center for Covid Control headquarters in Illinois.

WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko spent 21 years with the FBI. He explained if the FBI is interested, this investigation has gone to a new level.

“What they had to do is gather enough probable cause to get a judge to sign a search warrant to look for elements of criminal activity. So that’s what they’re doing at the headquarters in one of these search warrants, trying to find information that might be available on computers, in mail financial transactions, telephone records,” said Kolko.

The raid at the Center for Covid Control headquarters took place just days after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services confirmed its own investigation into the company, and one of the labs it uses, after the state of Minnesota sued, claiming misleading, deceptive, and fraudulent activity.

The Florida attorney general will not confirm whether it is investigating the Center for Covid Control.

The Center for Covid Control paused operations on Jan. 14, the company saying at the time it would retrain its people and establish new procedures, then reopen Saturday the 22nd. That did not happen in Southwest Florida or at any of the company’s 275 locations nationwide.

WINK News has reached out to the Center for Covid Control for comment and is waiting to hear back.