DOJ Charges 412 Individuals Responsible for Health Fraud Losses Totaling $1.3 Billion
On July 13, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a “nationwide takedown” of 412 individuals, including 115 licensed health care professionals, charged with defrauding the government of $1.3 billion. According to Federal prosecutors, health care providers billed Medicare, Medicaid, and TRICARE for drugs that were never purchased, collected money for false treatment and testing, and sold prescriptions for cash.
Nearly one-third of those charged were accused of opioid-related crimes. The focus on opioids is due, in part, to the fact that addiction is escalating at epidemic levels. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 91 Americans die each day of an opioid-related overdose.
Some of the schemes targeted vulnerable populations. For example, a rehabilitation clinic in Florida allegedly recruited addicts using gift cards, drugs, and casino and strip club visits to enable $58 million in false billing. A Texas doctor was accused of prescribing two million doses of painkillers in exchange for cash. One pharmacist was charged with $192 million in false and fraudulent claims related to dispensing unnecessary compounded medications.
According to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, greed not only caused the taxpayers to suffer, but resulted in new addictions, fed existing addictions, and delayed or stopped needed treatment for sick people.
DOJ compiled a comprehensive resource of the related complaints and indictments, which can be found on its website: https://www.justice.gov/opa/documents-and-resources-july-13-2017-national-health-care-fraud-takedown-press-conference