United States Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced the nationwide sweep of a Medicare Fraud Strike Force that included individuals from 36 federal districts. In total, 301 people were criminally charged with participating in health care fraud schemes involving $900 million in false billings, including 61 physicians, nurses and various licensed medical professionals. In addition to Medicare, twenty-three states Medicaid Fraud Control Units also participated in the raid and HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is suspending payments to providers who were named in various indictments and criminal complaints. The sweep was the largest in history in terms of amount of loss and criminal defendants.
All of the defendants were charged with various health care fraud charges, including money laundering, anti-kickback statutes and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The charges stem from various medical treatment and services from home health care, psychotherapy, occupational therapy, DME and prescription drugs.
The U.S. Attorney’s office also announced the $350 million allocated from the Affordable Care Act toward the investigation and prosecution of health care related fraud. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT). They in 9 locations and have charged over 2,900 defendants who have falsely billed the Medicare program for over $8.9 billion. Including the most recent arrests, 1,200 people have been charged in national takedown operations, involving more than $3.4 billion in fraudulent billings.