June 18, 2015
National Medicare Fraud Takedown Results in Charges Against 243 Individuals for Approximately $712 Million in False Billing
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell announced today a nationwide sweep led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in 17 districts, resulting in charges against 243 individuals, including 46 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $712 million in false billings. In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) also suspended a number of providers using its suspension authority as provided in the Affordable Care Act. This coordinated takedown is the largest in Strike Force history, both in terms of the number of defendants charged and loss amount.
“This action represents the largest criminal health care fraud takedown in the history of the Department of Justice, and it adds to an already remarkable record of enforcement,” said Attorney General Lynch. “The defendants charged include doctors, patient recruiters, home health care providers, pharmacy owners, and others. They billed for equipment that wasn’t provided, for care that wasn’t needed, and for services that weren’t rendered. In the days ahead, the Department of Justice will continue our focus on preventing wrongdoing and prosecuting those whose criminal activity drives up medical costs and jeopardizes a system that our citizens trust with their lives. We are prepared – and I am personally determined – to continue working with our federal, state, and local partners to bring about the vital progress that all Americans deserve.”
Collectively, the doctors, nurses, licensed medical professionals, health care company owners and others charged are accused of conspiring to submit a total of approximately $712 million in fraudulent billing.
“Health care fraud drives up health care costs, wastes taxpayer money, undermines the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and endangers program beneficiaries,” said Inspector General Levinson. “Today’s takedown includes perpetrators of prescription drug fraud, home health care fraud, and personal care services fraud, three particularly harmful types of fraud plaguing our health care system. This record-setting takedown sends a message to would-be perpetrators that health care fraud is a risky way to line your pockets. Our agents and our law enforcement partners stand ready to protect these vital programs and ensure that those who would steal from federal health care programs ultimately pay for their crimes.”
Including today’s enforcement actions, nearly 900 individuals have been charged in national takedown operations, which have involved more than $2.5 billion in fraudulent billings. Today’s announcement marks the first time that districts outside of Strike Force locations participated in a national takedown, and they accounted for 82 defendants charged in this takedown.
Arrests were made in Miami, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Detroit, Tampa, Brooklyn, and New Orleans. The DOJ reports court documents for each case will be posted online as they become available: http://www.justice.gov/....
Here's to the millions who fought the good fight and are still advocating for the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare. The highly successful healthcare reform law has implemented a Strike Team, and created more aggressive tools to detect medical fraud. Thanks, Obama!
And what a way to for the new U.S. Attorney General to kick off her first few months on the job. Loretta Lynch was recently criticized for being too lenient on criminals. If this is her lenient side, I'm smiling at the thought of seeing her tough side.
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June 18, 2015