Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the government’s crackdown on Medicare fraud involved cases around the country totaling about $900 million in losses. Photo: EPA
The Justice Department revealed the theft of $900 million of taxpayer money, which charged 300 people with defrauding Medicare and other government health care programs, including those for veterans.
The 300 defendants—including doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals—were charged with a variety of crimes, including conspiracy to commit health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes, money laundering and aggravated identity theft. Health care services and providers involved in the various schemes included home health care, psychotherapy, physical and occupational therapy, durable medical equipment (DMA) and prescription drugs.
“They submitted dishonest claims, charged excessive fees and prescribed unnecessary drugs,” Lynch said at a press conference on Wednesday. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force is a joint effort between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
In California, officials have charged a man with receiving illegal payments for marketing compound medications, the costs of which were paid by Tricare, a program for members of the military, veterans and their families.
Previously, authorities have said compound-prescription sales involving Tricare were generating hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent transactions. The medications are specially mixed by pharmacists, often to treat pain, and often sell for thousands of dollars per prescription.
The coordinated takedown is the largest in history – both in the number of arrests and the amount of money lost, officials said.