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Government takes down alleged Medicare scams totaling $251 million

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | July 16, 2010
DOJ busts alleged Medicare scams.
A joint Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services strike force has taken down alleged Medicare fraud schemes totaling almost $251 million in phony claims, the agencies announced Friday.

The Medicare Fraud Strike Force accused 94 doctors, health care company workers and medical billers around the country of fraud in the biggest series of busts in the strike force's three-year history.

The government made the announcement during the first of a series of regional anti-fraud summits held in Miami, Florida, where 24 of the defendants were charged, the government said. Other accused fraudsters were booked in Brooklyn, N.Y., Detroit, Mich., Houston, Texas and Baton Rouge, La.

"With today's arrests, we're putting would-be criminals on notice: Health care fraud is no longer a safe bet," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. "The federal government is working aggressively - and collaboratively - to pursue health care criminals around the country and to bring these offenders to justice."

According to the government, court documents accuse the defendants of participating in fraud schemes to bill for services that were either medically unnecessary or never provided. In many cases, cash kickbacks were allegedly paid to beneficiaries to go along with false billings, according to the government's account of the indictment.

The case involved more than 360 officers from the FBI, the HHS-Office of Inspector General, several anti-Medicaid fraud units and local and state agencies, the government said.

Check back with DOTmed News for further developments.