U.S. Government Defrauded of $83M by Co-Founder of COVID Testing Lab that Serviced Berwyn

After a year-long federal investigation, the co-owner of LabElite, the Chicago-based COVID testing company that serviced the testing site at 3310 Grove in Berwyn, was indicted in March. Zishan Alvi was indicted on 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of theft of government funds. Alvi is accused of defrauding the federal government of $83 million and using those funds to buy luxury cars, Crypto, and stocks. According to USA Today, Alvi directed employees to “provide negative test results for COVID-19 tests that had not been actually  been done or had been discarded.” Alvi is also accused of directing employees to “alter the lab’s PCR testing method by using less of the materials necessary to process the tests, leading to unreliable results.”

Lab Elite had locations across the United States. One of their testing sites was in Berwyn at 3310 Grove in the 1st Ward. The City of Berwyn launched the site in December of 2021 in partnership with Lab Elite and Cre8ive Vision Group. Not long after opening, residents made complaints about missing and delayed test results.

Click to read full indictment.
On January 10, 2022, local community organization Rizoma Collective posted a press release with troubling findings about both businesses that ran the location:
  • Chicago-based company Lab Elite, which ran testing sites in multiple cities, had been in the news for inappropriate testing practices and misplaced test samples.
  • One of its locations in Philadelphia falsely claimed to be funded by the federal government and people reported being asked for their Social Security number.
  • Hundreds of test samples were delivered to a residential home in Hawaii instead of the company’s location in Chicago.
  • Lab Elite’s co-owner had no medical experience and previously owned several bars and a plumbing company.
  • Cre8ive Vision Group made $2,000 in campaign donations to Berwyn Mayor Robert Lovero in the previous 2 years.
  • The City partnered with the business despite Cre8ive Vision Group being dissolved by the Illinois Secretary of State in December 2021.
  • The City of Berwyn stated that no records of contracts or invoices with Cre8ive Vision exist in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
One day after the press release, a representative from Cre8ive Vision Group spoke during the open forum of City Council, stating, “I would like to commend Mayor Robert J. Lovero for putting the residents of Berwyn and surrounding communities’ health first by providing additional testing options for all.” The unnamed representative also stated, “We are very proud to announce that we are approaching 8,000 persons tested at 3310 Grove.” She also submitted a copy of a newly obtained Certificate of Good Standing from the State of Illinois. The City never publicly addressed the concerns about Lab Elite nor Cre8ive Vision, despite experiencing a similar incident in 2020. On December 8th, 2020, after numerous residents complained about late and delayed COVID test results, the City ended its partnership with Northshore Clinical Labs, saying, “After exhausting all opportunities to resolve the delays in response to patient testing delays inquiries, North Shore Testing Labs was dismissed from service to the Berwyn community and the December 6 Drive-Up Testing event canceled.” Northshore was also later investigated by the FBI

Post by Luz Chávez, 5th Ward Resident and Rizoma member, 5/15/2023