In what is being called the largest Medicare fraud dragnet in U.S. history, federal authorities this week filed criminal charges against 300 people across the country, including doctors, nurses, physical therapists and home health care providers, for allegedly bilking the government out of more than $900 million.
Authorities said the defendants participated in schemes in which they submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid for treatments that were never provided or that were medically unnecessary. What’s more, so-called “patient recruiters” were in many cases paid cash kickbacks for supplying beneficiary information to providers, which would then allow the providers to submit fraudulent bills to Medicare for bogus services.
With arrests being made over three days, the sweep spanned from southern California to Michigan, Florida and Texas and to Brooklyn, New York.
In announcing the results of the sweep, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said those arrested targeted “real people—many of them in need of significant medical care.”
“They promise effective cures and therapies, but they provide none. Above all, they abuse basic bonds of trust—between doctor and patient; between pharmacist and doctor; between taxpayer and government—and pervert them to their own ends."
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