700 LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS EXECUTE TAKEDOWN IN USA TODAY
The first thing one might think of is a drug cartel or mafia group but no it is your friendly neighborhood doctors, nurses and varieties of health care providers robbing you to the tune of $225 million dollars. A well known statesman once said, "A nation divided against itself cannot stand." That is true and with this kind of inner rot it will not take long as the god of the almighty dollar takes over the minds of those who worship it by highjacking common descency and moral sense. Fraud is not new, we've seen it in businesses large and small, in education, politics is a given and it's become common place in many religious institutions. Most of us are not surprised anymore because we see more and more of it and on a daily basis from some direction. But when it permeates a sector of society that we deal with frequently, is very personal to each and every one of us from a source that is supposed to 'do no harm', it is shocking and disturbing.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force charged 111 defendants in nine cities, including doctors, nurses, health care company owners and executives, and others, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving more than $225 million in false billing, announced Attorney General Eric Holder, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, FBI Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson. Also today, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and HHS announced the expansion of Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations to two additional cities - Dallas and Chicago. Today's operation is the largest-ever federal health care fraud takedown.
The joint DOJ-HHS Medicare Fraud Strike Force is a multi-agency team of federal, state, and local investigators designed to combat Medicare fraud through the use of Medicare data analysis techniques and an increased focus on community policing. More than 700 law enforcement agents from the FBI, HHS-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), multiple Medicaid Fraud Control Units, and other state and local law enforcement agencies participated in today's operation. In addition to making arrests, agents also executed 16 search warrants across the country in connection with ongoing strike force investigations.
"With this takedown, we have identified and shut down large-scale fraud schemes operating throughout the country. We have safeguarded precious taxpayer dollars. And we have helped to protect our nation's most essential health care programs, Medicare and Medicaid," said Attorney General Holder. "As today's arrest prove, we are waging an aggressive fight against health care fraud."
"Over the last two years our joint efforts have more than quadrupled the number of anti-fraud Strike Force teams operating in fraud hot spots around the country from two to nine -- with the latest additions Chicago and Dallas -- bringing hundreds of charges against criminals who had billed Medicare for hundreds of millions of dollars. Last year alone, our partnership recovered a record $4 billion on behalf of taxpayers. From 2008-2010, every dollar the Federal Government spent under its Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control programs averaged a return on investment of $6.80," said HHS Secretary Sebelius.
The defendants charged today are accused of various health care fraud-related crimes, including conspiracy to defraud the Medicare program, criminal false claims, violations of the anti-kickback statutes, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. The charges are based on a variety of alleged fraud schemes involving various medical treatments and services such as home health care, physical and occupational therapy, nerve conduction tests and durable medical equipment.