The federal Medicare Fraud Strike Force today charged 111 defendants with allegedly participating in fraud schemes that falsely billed Medicare for more than $225 million.
Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the operation is the largest-ever takedown of health care fraud against the federal government.
The defendants charged today allegedly submitted claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary or never provided, and are accused of violations of anti-kickback statutes, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.
“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 in a written statement. “As today’s arrests prove, we are waging an aggressive fight against health care fraud.”
More than 700 law enforcement agents participated in today’s operation and also executed search warrants in connection with other strike force investigations. The strike force is a joint effort between the Department of Justice and HHS, consisting of a multi-agency team of federal, state and local investigators. Since it was created in 2007, the strike force has conducted operations in nine districts and charged more than 990 individuals for collectively falsely billing Medicare for more than $2.3 billion.
“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,” Sebelius said in a written statement.
The DOJ and HHS also announced the strike force will expand operations to Dallas and Chicago. It currently operates in Baton Rogue, La., Brooklyn, N.Y., Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Tampa, Fla.