Federal prosecutors charged 20 defendants accused of ripping off Medicare in seven Los Angeles-area schemes involving bogus claims for wheelchairs, orthotic devices and other medical equipment.
Feds accuse 20 of bilking Medicare
The U.S. Justice Department and HHS' inspector general's office announced the new round of cases as further evidence of the effectiveness of their multi-agency “strike forces,” which have been deployed in four hot spots of Medicare fraud, first in South Florida, followed by Los Angeles and most recently in Detroit and San Antonio.
In this crop of cases, the defendants allegedly billed the government for about $26 million worth of medical equipment that was either unnecessary or never delivered.
“Our Medicare Fraud Strike Force will continue to be vigilant rooting out criminals who masquerade as healthcare providers in order to steal from American taxpayers,” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer was quoted as saying in the news release. In one of the cases, a Long Beach, Calif., woman allegedly recruited six associates of a street gang to act as straw owners of fraudulent durable medical-equipment companies.
Officials credit the strike forces with indictments against 331 people alleged to have falsely billed Medicare $720 million.
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