89 Charged With Health Care Fraud As Federal Government Cracks Down On Healthcare Fraud Across Country
On May 14, 2013, 89 people in 8 different cities, including 14 doctors and nurses, were charged for their roles in various health care fraud-related crimes. The individuals charged allegedly participated in Medicare fraud schemes that deprived the federal government of approximately $223 million through false billings. The charges, which included conspiracy to commit health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statute, and money laundering, were announced by Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Holder and Sebelius stated that this was part of a nationwide takedown by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, a joint initiative announced in May 2009 between the Department of Justice and HHS to prevent fraud nationwide.
The charges are based on numerous fraudulent schemes involving various medical treatments and services, primary home health care, mental health services, psychotherapy, physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment and ambulance services. Some of the individuals charged allegedly posed as doctors and wrote false prescriptions for drugs and psychotherapy, and in turn, falsely billed the government $12 million. Other individuals are charged with bribing Medicare patients for their ID numbers, then using that information to bill for health care that was never performed or medically unnecessary.
Attorney General Eric Holder stated that this “announcement marks the latest step forward in our comprehensive efforts to combat fraud and abuse in our health-care systems.” The charges are being prosecuted and investigated by Medicare Fraud Strike Force teams comprised of attorneys from the Fraud Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, the United States Attorney’s Offices in the various districts where individuals were charged, and agents from the FBI-HHS-OIG and state Medicaid Fraud Control Units.