Gov’t cracks down on ‘brazen’ fraud

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged 90 individuals with $260 million in false billings, according to a May 13 release from the Department of Justice. 

Those charged include physicians, nurses and other medical professionals.

“The crimes charged represent the face of health care fraud today—doctors billing for services that were never rendered, supply companies providing motorized wheelchairs that were never needed, recruiters paying kickbacks to get Medicare billing numbers of patients,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General David O’Neil. “The fraud was rampant, it was brazen, and it permeated every part of the Medicare system.” 

The defendants are accused of various health care fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes and money laundering. The charges stem from alleged fraud schemes involving various medical treatments and services, including home health care, mental health services, psychotherapy, physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment and pharmacy.

More than half of those charged were part of an alleged fraud scheme involving false billing for home health care and mental health services and pharmacy fraud in Miami.

Since 2007, the Strike Force has charged nearly 1,900 individuals with approximately $6 billion in fraud, according to the release.