New Medicare fraud “strike forces” are operating in Tampa, Fla., Brooklyn, N.Y., and Baton Rouge, La., the U.S. Justice Department revealed while announcing five indictments charging 30 people with running several unrelated scams that ripped off the federal health program.
New strike forces, indictments announced
The expansion of the multiagency teams is the second since May, when the Justice Department and HHS announced the government would dedicate more resources toward the problem. The first strike force hit Miami in 2007, which subsequently was replicated in Los Angeles in 2008 and in Detroit and Houston in 2009. Their work has led to 250 guilty pleas and more than 20 convictions at trial, said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer at a news conference in Brooklyn.
The targets of the newly unsealed indictments allegedly submitted fraudulent Medicare claims totaling $61 million. In Detroit, owners of a clinic allegedly paid kickbacks to patients who agreed to fake symptoms that would justify expensive tests, such as nerve-conduction studies.
In the Brooklyn case, the defendants allegedly billed the government for unnecessary medical equipment. Fifteen of the Miami defendants, including doctors and nurses, were alleged to have played roles in bogus claims for home care, an increasingly popular fraud target. Another case involved allegedly fraudulent HIV infusion therapy.
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