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Feds Bust 90 Linked to Medicare Fraud Schemes Totaling $260M

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, May 14, 2014

As the result of a multi-city operation, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has brought charges against scores of people, including doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals allegedly involved in false billing schemes.

Federal prosecutors on Tuesday unveiled charges against 90 people in six cities for their alleged roles in Medicare frauds that resulted in $260 million in false billings.

The defendants include 16 physicians and 11 other people identified as "medical professionals," according to a joint media release from the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services.

Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O'Neil said in prepared remarks that the crimes identified in the investigation "represent the face of healthcare 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."

"The fraud was rampant, it was brazen, and it permeated every part of the Medicare system. But law enforcement continues to strike back. Using cutting-edge, data-driven investigative techniques, we are bringing fraudsters to justice and saving the American taxpayers billions of dollars."

The investigations were led by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force in Los Angeles, Miami, Tampa, Houston, Brooklyn, and Detroit.

The defendants face charges including money laundering, conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud, and violations of anti-kickback statutes stemming from a number of schemes involving bogus medical treatments and services for home healthcare, mental health services, psychotherapy, physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment, and pharmacy fraud, federal officials said.

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