September 7th, 2011
03:19 PM ET

Justice Department charges 91 in $295 million Medicare fraud scheme

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced charges against 91 people including doctors, nurses and other medical professionals allegedly involved in a nationwide Medicare fraud scheme in eight cities totaling $295 million in false billing.

“The defendants charged in this takedown are accused of stealing precious taxpayer resources and defrauding Medicare – jeopardizing the integrity of our health care system and our nation’s most critical health care program for personal gain,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a press release. “Our highly coordinated, nationwide Strike Force operations are working aggressively to combat Medicare fraud and our anti-health care fraud efforts have never been more innovative, collaborative, aggressive – or effective. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and partners across government to fight against health care fraud.”

According to the Justice Department those charged are accused of a variety of fraud-related crimes including conspiracy to defraud the Medicare program, health care fraud, violations of the anti-kickback statutes and money laundering. The scheme involved home health care, physical and occupational therapy, mental health services, psychotherapy and durable medical equipment services, the Justice Department said.

“Today’s arrests are a powerful warning to those who would try to defraud taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries,” Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a press release. "These arrests illustrate close cooperation between the Medicare program that identified these fraudsters and the law enforcement officials who acted swiftly to cut them off. And our efforts to stop criminals don’t end here because the Affordable Care Act gives us new tools to prevent Medicare fraud before it is committed – better protecting seniors and the integrity of the Medicare program for generations to come.”

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soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Eric

    not sure about all of the 91 pepole but in Detroit, that was like 17 linked to it....and they were foreigners. It really makes you wouonder alot. We as a country, try so hard to offer foreigners a better life here, plus offer them tax breaks and this is how we are repaid.

    September 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doc

      I'll bet there are more "native" Americans than foreign-born on that list.

      I hope they jail those found guilty and strip ALL of their assets and put that money back into Medicare. Take everything. Sell it all. Wedding china & silver, Pictures, bronze baby shoes, replace their gold & silver fillings with porcelain...EVERYTHING.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jeff stockton Honolulu

    Doctors? Don't they make enough already? Talk about greed to defraud taxpayers as well!

    September 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Broader Picture

      Considering most physicians make about 30k-55k (depending on level of post graduate training)for the first 10 yrs out of medical school plus the loans that need to be re-paid, which total upwards to 1 million. Do they really make all that much? Think of all the gain that was lost working 80 plus hours per week. In fact, those same people, if they had taken actual job/career positions in other stations would have more net gains by within the 10 yr period plus, overall, less loans. I am not defending physicians who commit fraud but to focus on one number instead of the larger picture is what gives society a narrow perspective on salary. Also, do not athletes make enough? Do not celebreties make enough? Especially considering what they offer is a luxury and not a necessity, unlike healthcare? Of course America will pay head over heels for those things without question but when it comes to their health ...

      September 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill

      How little you know about what doctors are paid. Shame on you. Yes, shame on these people also.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doc

      Well, Broader Picture, perhaps the cash coming in early on in many doctors' careers is not what a lot of people assume it is, but this crime wasn't committed by entertainers or athletes now, was it? Your references to them are immaterial in this context. Those who pay for entertainment are not getting government help to do it. You don't get a government card that allows you to buy 50-yard-line tickets, or backstage passes. The story is about falsifying medical billing - which, incidentally, is a driving factor in raising medical prices beyond what most people can pay without insurance.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. us1776

    Heck, in Florida they've got that much fraud going on in EVERY city.

    There are entire industries setup in Florida expressly for defrauding Medicare and Medicaid.

    Just ask Rick Scott, the biggest fraudster of them all. He stole over 2 BILLION DOLLARS and used the money to buy his way into the governors mansion.

    Florida is the biggest joke on the planet.


    September 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. a doctor

    The US spends more than any other country per capita on health care. I suspect Fraud has a lot to do with it. Defensive medicine has a contribution. Public expectations of right to get care without personal responsibility (our obesity, drug abuse, cigarette abuse and alcohol epidemics) must lead the list. A single payer mechanism is the best way to move the dialogue further.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Down with OHP

      Agreed. Those societal sponges should have some accountability. If we charged them even $5 (which of course they have..cigs and dorritos don't grow on trees) copay in the ED, we would deter them from ever signing in. We would save billions on useless work ups for their BS "problems"

      September 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heather in St. Louis

      EHR's will help as well. I do agree though that too many people are not accountable for their own actions in regards to their health while expecting others to foot the bill for their health problems.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Renae Mann

      I'm sure that's another reason why our insurance keeps going up as well.Thanks to greedy people.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. john

    I'm pretty sure these perpetrators are foreign born nationals. Their green cards and naturalizarion certificates should be revoked before they are sent to jail. Then deportation after completing their sentences.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      Do not forget revocation of licenses.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cato

      The heck with that. Deport guilty non-citizens BEFORE the sentence is served. I'm not willing to use my tax dollars to provide 3 squares and free health care for them.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rifraf

    Post the names and faces of these theives so that they can be publically humiliated and mocked.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sally

      You mean, if they are found guilty, of course.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheAmericanWay

      After the guilty verdicts come in!

      September 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drill

      Put them in the public square ...what is it called? Stocks?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. runner15

    Way to go Obama administration!

    September 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mpm

      Yes thank you what does it take to give Obama a little credit once in a while.?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      Yo Stupid .... Start running back to reality .... I am sure a lot (if not most) was going on BEFORE Obama took office . These things don't happen overnight .You should be charged with medicare fraud OBVIOUSLY are taking wayyyy too much STUPIDIUM and MORONIUM medication .

      September 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Renae Mann

      I'm sure this has been going on even before the Obama Admin.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. BJNJ

    Fraud on government should be LIFE behind bars (with death as a option of the criminal). We need our own "Escape to New York" for these low lifes. Reopen Alcatraz, give each low life a tent and air matress. OR subcontract the punishment to the Saudies BJNJ

    September 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rosslaw

    Now they can all run as tea party candidates for governor like Rick Scott (formerly of HCA), he of the $1.8 billion fraud fine, in Florida. They can all say they ran a business and had to balance a budget, albeit fraudulently.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ketrout

    This is probably only a drop in the bucket. I am sure that there is a lot more fraud going on. Such as how much is going to ILLEGAL ALIENS?

    Our federal government CANNOT track the money that is being lost in Iraq and Afghan – BILLIONS OF DOLLARS!!!

    September 7, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Down with OHP

      I guarantee that it's not the immigrants (legal or not) that are costing the privately insured and the taxpayers as much money as the fat white chics with their chronic abdominal pain or the meth head white boys with their cyclic vomiting (who actually never even vomit by the way). Down with the opioid seekers!

      September 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. B Fischer

    Now they need to set the penalty high. Death by firing squad should reduce future fraud to a manageable level.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  12. justathought

    91? Thats all? The investigating team must be small. Oh! I get it! The government wants us to think they are doing their job! How many frauds would they come up with if they could investigate politicans? I mean, it is good that they caught these 91, but that is just a sliver of the pie. If they came up with 91,000 the figure would be much more impressive.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. grayguru

    Because of incidents like this, the Medicare and Medicaid system needs a single payer system. What that means is that for any given service, there is only one fee available to be paid by the government. People can't 'play' the system as easily. If these people were billing for services never rendered, they should all be placed in federal prisons for the rest of their natural lives. In essence, they stole our tax dollars that were meant for care of the aged and poor.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. keylargo

    These peoples names should be made public, you can bet if it were electricians, teachers, machinists, pipe fitters, or laborers their names would be posted right at the top of the page.

    September 7, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John

    you've not seen anything yet until ObamaCare comes to a state near you. The fraud already in motion with major private corporations terminating their existing medical coverage and telling thier employees to get onboard with Obamacare. Who do you think will be pay for that move?

    September 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Renae Mann

      I pay for my family's health insurance but I do know of people who have been helped by this Obamacare & have actually gotten help & have always been denied before so at least they did get help with pre-existing conditions when before they couldn't.How many have already suffered or died before not being able to afford expensive tests & medications? Should just the people milking the system getting everything for free with medicaid cards only be helped? We are already paying for that. They can run to the doctor's for anything & we pay the bill.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      What are you talking about John? Do you have an example of the 'fraud' you mean?

      September 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southerner in Chicago

      Did you not read the entire article? The part where they mentioned the tools provided to them by the Affordable Health Care Act which allowed them to go after these guys? That's the actual name of "Obamacare" you moron.

      September 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
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