91 Charged in $430 Million Medicare Fraud Case
A federally assembled Medicare Fraud Strike Force has succeeded in bringing charges against 91 people in seven different cities for their parts in Medicare frauds that cost the government as much as $429 million in false billings. The Strike Force charged 33 people in Miami, 16 people in Los Angeles, 14 people in Dallas, seven people in Houston, four in Baton Rouge, and two in Chicago. The strike force, a joint effort between the United States Department of Justice and the Health and Human Services, have thus far managed to charge more than 1,480 people for defrauding Medicare for more than $4.8 billion dollars since it’s inception in 2007.
Hunting Down Fraudsters
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Health and Human Services Secretary announced that 91 people – including many licensed medical professionals – would be charged for fraud schemes that involved falsely billing the government for more than $230 million in home health care, more than $100 million in mental health care, and more than $49 million in ambulance transportation fraud. With help from the FBI and dozens of Medicare fraud control units, the Strike Force was able to hunt down the perpetrators behind the fraud, leading to one of the biggest busts in Medicare fraud history.
This bust has the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services hopeful, with Mr. Holder going on record to say that the arrests “put criminals on notice that we are cracking down hard on people who want to steal from Medicare.”
-33 people in Miami have been charged with various forms of fraud, totaling over $204.5 million dollars in fraudulent charges. In one case, three people were charged with participating in a scheme at LTC Professional Consultants and and Professional Home Care Solutions Inc. that involved billing Medicare for over $74 million for home health care.
-Sixteen people, including three doctors and one licensed physical therapist, were charged in Los Angeles for fraudulent charges amounting to over $53.8 million. Of note, four individuals were charged for racking up over $49.2 million dollars in fraudulent billings for ambulance transportation. This case represents the largest ambulance fraud scheme ever busted by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.
-14 people- including two doctors and two nurses- were charged in Dallas, for racking up over a total of over $103.3 million dollars in fraudulent charges. One of the individuals charged, Dr. Joseph Megwa, is charged with signing over 33,000 prescriptions without properly reviewing them.
-The Medicare Fraud Strike Force busted seven hospital workers in Houston for their participation in a scheme that involved bribing Medicare beneficiaries to use the hospital for non-Medicare related activities, which the workers would then bill Medicare.
-In Brooklyn, 15 people- including one doctor and four chiropractors- were charged for fraudulently billing Medicare for over $23.2 million dollars.
-Four individuals were charged in Baton Rouge were charged for billing Medicare for over $2.4 million dollars worth of unnecessary medical equipment.
-Finally, in Chicago, a dermatologist and a psychologist were charged for billing Medicare for millions of dollars in unnecessary laser treatments and psychotherapy services.