Federal Law Enforcement Busts Nearly 200 People in $2.7B Health Care Fraud Crackdown

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By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department has charged nearly 200 people, including doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, in health care fraud schemes that totaled $2.7 billion in false claims.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that 193 people have been charged as part of a coordinated nationwide law enforcement action. 

Federal law enforcement also seized more than $231 million in cash, luxury vehicles, gold and other assets. 

“It does not matter if you are a trafficker in a drug cartel or a corporate executive or medical professional employed by a health care company, if you profit from the unlawful distribution of controlled substances, you will be held accountable,” Garland said in a statement. “The Justice Department will bring to justice criminals who defraud Americans, steal from taxpayer-funded programs, and put people in danger for the sake of profits.”

The charges include a $900 million scheme in Arizona that targeted dying patients, the unlawful distribution of millions of Adderall pills and more than $1.1 billion in telemedicine and laboratory fraud. 

“Health care fraud affects every American,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said. “It siphons off hard-earned tax dollars meant to provide care for the vulnerable and disabled. In doing so, it also raises the cost of care for all patients. Even worse, as the prosecutions we announce today underscore, health care fraud can harm patients and fuel addiction. The Criminal Division is committed to rooting out health care fraud, wherever it may be found, no matter who commits it.  And we are using more tools than ever before to uncover misconduct and hold wrongdoers to account, whether they are executives in corner offices or doctors who violate their oaths.” 

The investigation was led by the Health Care Fraud Unit of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. Also involved were the FBI, DEA, U.S. attorneys’ offices and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General.

“We will not tolerate fraud that preys on patients who need and deserve high quality health care,” HHS-OIG Inspector General Christi A. Grimm said. “The hard work of the HHS-OIG team and our outstanding law enforcement partners makes today’s action possible. We must protect taxpayer dollars and keep Americans safe from harms to their health, privacy, and financial well-being.”

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