A multi-state Medicare Fraud Strike Force takedown has resulted in charges against 90 individuals for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving approximately $260 million in false billings, Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius jointly announced May 13.
The defendants, including 27 doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, are charged with various health care fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, anti-kickback violations, and money laundering, a Department of Justice press release said.
According to the release, the defendants allegedly participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and often never provided. Specifically, court documents allege patient recruiters, Medicare beneficiaries, and other co-conspirators were paid cash kickbacks in return for supplying beneficiary information to providers, so the providers could then submit fraudulent bills to Medicare, the release said.
A total of 50 defendants were charged in Miami, FL; 11 were charged in Houston, TX; eight in Los Angeles, CA; seven in Detroit, MI; seven in Tampa, FL; and seven were charged in Brooklyn, NY.
“Medicare is a sacred compact with our nation’s seniors, and to protect it, we must remain aggressive in combating fraud,” Holder commented in the release. “This nationwide Medicare Strike Force takedown represents another important step forward in our ongoing fight to safeguard taxpayer resources and to ensure the integrity of essential health care programs.”
The release noted an indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.